A tender and beautiful story, Sarah Winman’s novel Tin Man is heartbreaking and wonderfully moving, focusing on the relationship between two people, first as young boys and then as adults, with an exquisitely written and introspective look into the experiences and intimacies that are shared in a relationship so close.

At twelve years old, Ellis and Michael become friends, with shared similarities in their difficult family lives and less than stellar relationships with their fathers. The two spend a lot of time together, having fun and exploring their hometown, learning to swim, and more. Then, their close friendship becomes something much more.

Ten years later, Ellis is married to Annie, and Michael is gone from the picture. Burdened with shame stemming from his past, Ellis’s insecurities about who he really is and his fear of his father can no longer be ignored, and the story of what happened in between then and now comes out.

Sarah Winman has written a complex love story of sorts, really a life story of two men, of their choices and regrets, but also a story of strong women who allow these men to journey toward their own truths by providing them with love, support, friendship and family.

With memories of love and loneliness, these wonderful characters and powerful relationships are captivating, expressive and unforgettable. Winman’s ability to convey the trivialities of love and relationship that become so important is astounding, and the story she creates is one that celebrates the capabilities of friendship, intimacy, and human kindness. Mixed in is the story of Van Gogh painting The Sunflowers, simmering imagery of France in the summer of 1969, and the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s.

Don’t be fooled by the small, diary-size of this novel – it packs a powerful, evocative and wonderful punch.

Tin Man: A Novel is now available for purchase. 


Photo: © Patricia Niven

Sarah Winman is the author of two novels, When God Was a Rabbit and A Year of Marvelous Ways. She grew up in Essex and now lives in London. She attended the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art and went on to act in theatre, film, and television.


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