Tin Man – Sarah Winman

I can’t imagine any of you are that bothered, but in case you want to read something while waiting for the Festive ‘Spil Ones, or if you are thinking of a last minute book gift to buy tomorrow, I’ve just written my first post since February over at my own place.  Here it is:

A Fiction Habit


This time last year, I suggested we talk about love.  Shall we do it again?  I think we should.

This year has seen even less writing here than last year.  Despite the lack of new “content” I got lots of visitors (that story’s for another time).  Although I’ve not been active here, I’ve been writing bits elsewhere and short pieces for work.  My year’s been hectic beyond belief with nothing more than everyday life and surviving it, which has inevitably impacted my reading choices.  In the main, I’ve chosen slim volumes this year; brevity has been everything.

Writers have to work hard with short fiction (I’m not suggesting that writers of longer fiction don’t work hard btw).  I continue to marvel at how writers use style and language to convey a story in a short volume.  What they leave out tends to be almost as important as the words…

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8 thoughts on “Tin Man – Sarah Winman

  1. Thank you Sarah. I’ve read mainly non-fiction this year, some wonderful work, notably The Power Broker by Robert Caro which filled my summer with its epic tale of the building and ruination of New York City in the 20th century by one unelected man, Robert Moses. I also read Elvis Costello’s Unfathful Music, Junot Diaz’ The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and many others. Of your list, the only one I’ve read is Ask The Dust, which I loved about ten years ago. I will seek out your other recommendations!!

    • Hi there – thanks for reading this. Oscar Wao is one of my all time favourite books! I love it. I think we’ve chatted about The Power Broker over at RR – it does look epic. Well done for getting through it!

  2. I must admit, I’d never even heard of the book Tin Man, let alone read it. I’m a pretty slow reader these days (and easily distracted) so my local book group’s choice is often the only thing I read each month.
    These tend not to be current titles as it’s easier to get multiple copies of older books. By chance, we also read Hotel du Lac this year which I liked rather than loved. I also persuaded them to go for Murakami’s Norwegian Wood (a surprise hit!) and our current pick, The Shadow of the Wind (probably my dsert island book) so I could re-read both of them.
    I see we’ve also done one of your novels from last year. How To be Both. I really liked that one but everyone else seemed to hate it. Most said it was like a goodish but slightly over-ambitious first novel which implied that the author was promising. I did also manage to fit in Grief Is the Thing With Feathers which was, I thought, astonishing.
    I’m no better at describing fiction than I am music, as you can see!

    • Hi Sev. Tin Man has been shortlisted for the Costa Prize which is the first literary prize of the year. Often the books on this shortlist are more accessible than those of the Man Booker list for example. I get the thing about getting multiple copies, but most libraries will get in multiple copies of a book if you register your bookclub with them – which saves everyone some pennies and keeps people using this essential service!
      Hotel du Lac was my introduction to Brookner and I loved it – very 80s though. Norwegian Wood often tends to be a hit probably because it’s Murakami’s least weird book, quite straightforward for him really – such a lovely, lovely story though. I love Murakami; he’s not for everyone though. People often pick up other titles by him after reading Norwegian Wood and are confused and disappointed.
      The Shadow of the Wind is such an evocative book – as you can imagine, the whole books and library thing really appealed to me. Plus, I love the old part of Barcelona. Double thumbs up.
      How To Be Both is an interesting one. I really liked it. It’s stylistically very accomplished and clever. She is a fascinating writer – I’ve seen her at Cheltenham and found her engaging and bright yet so unassuming.
      And well, Grief Is A Thing With Feather is a piece of work to be experienced rather than written about – original, moving and very affecting.
      As you’ll see from the thread of comments on the Instrumental post I did – I think I’m crap at describing music, so I reckon we’re quits!

  3. I just hardly ever read these days. My friend gave me a free subscription to the London Review of Books and my heart sank, because he will want me to talk about it. I have a literature degree and a house full of books. Theoretically I love reading. But somehow the switch has gone off, unless I’m sitting on a train or in a waiting room or a hospital. Can’t seem to concentrate!

    • The great thing is, Ali, once you’ve learned to read, you don’t forget! You’ll find the time again eventually. Sometimes it just takes one piece of writing to trigger your interest again. I find it hard to concentrate too, which is why I’m reading much shorter fiction lately.

  4. I have read some books this year, the best of which was definitely John Irving’s Avenue Of Mysteries. Apart from it being an exquisitely plotted, humane (and divine) story with a delicious touch of magic realism, I also felt a personal connection with the main protagonist and the setting in Oaxaca.
    I now always read every new Dave Eggers book. I have yet to be disappointed.

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