The Book That Unexpectedly Swept Me Away

The Book That Unexpectedly Swept Me Away

Summer is a time for most Australians to relax by the pool or beach (in the shade or with lots of slip, slop, slap), including me. I visited my local bookshop looking for something different because it had been a while since a book has swept me away.


A book with a yellow cover caught my eye, which I purchased and read over the next two days.

Tin Man, the third book by British author Sarah Winman, is an easy read which beautifully explores human relationships, but drips with tenderness and what makes people tick.

A story about different lives that might have been lived had their circumstances been different.

The prologue of the book begins with a woman defying her husband when she wins the local raffle, where she chooses a reproduction of Van Gogh’s painting Sunflowers rather than the whisky her abusive husband desired. “It was her first ever act of defiance. Like cutting off an ear. And she’d made it in public.”

This painting becomes significant throughout the book, which is based around three main characters. Ellis and Michael are two inseparable boys enjoying a teenage love affair who grow to men when Annie enters their lives, which doesn’t change anything, but everything.

The book, which covers controversial topics, like the 1980’s Aids virus breakout, is written in two parts. The first is narrated by Ellis, who is 46 years old, a middle-aged lonely widower and works in the paint shop in an Oxford car plant. Ellis initially yearned to be an artist while growing up, which was forbidden by his father after his mother’s death.

Enter Annie who becomes Ellis’s wife who realises Ellis is yearning for his best friend Michael and the three form a strong friendship that ends suddenly when Michael departs for London upon the death of his grandmother.

Michaels abrupt departure leads us to the second half of the book which is about Michael and the story of his life growing up in London, which includes his fond memories of the relationship he enjoyed with Ellis, which consists of the holiday to the south of France, where they were lovers.

“We undressed separately, unbearably shy. I don’t know what to do, he said. Me neither, I said. I lay down and opened my legs. I pulled him on top of me and told him he had to go slow.”

'Tin Man is Winman's best novel yet. The playful subversiveness still bubbles away, but there's a new candour there, an acceptance of needs and flaws that proves deeply touching. This is storytelling as cruelly kind as fate itself' - Patrick Gale

I hope you will enjoy the journey of the three friends that will not only tear at your heartstrings but will leave you thinking about their journeys well after you have finished the book, which has been shortlists for the 2017 Costa Novel Award.

Carolyn (Caz) Rowland is a fashion designer at Cazinc The Label, model, lifestyle blogger and professional Image Stylist. Caz is also a qualified NLP Master Therapist, Advanced Practitioner of Matrix Therapies, Time Line Therapist, Practitioner of Hypnotherapy, has a Diploma for Business and Life Coaching.  Caz is happily married to her husband Simon, and raised four beautiful children, who are now young adults and a teenager.

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