Book Review

Review – Still Life by Sarah Winman


From the author of When God was a Rabbit and Tin ManStill Life is a big-hearted story of people brought together by love, war, art and the ghost of E.M. Forster.

1944, in the ruined wine cellar of a Tuscan villa, as bombs fall around them, two strangers meet and share an extraordinary evening.

Ulysses Temper is a young British soldier, Evelyn Skinner is a sexagenarian art historian and possible spy. She has come to Italy to salvage paintings from the wreckage and relive memories of the time she encountered EM Forster and had her heart stolen by an Italian maid in a particular Florentine room with a view.

Evelyn’s talk of truth and beauty plants a seed in Ulysses’ mind that will shape the trajectory of his life – and of those who love him – for the next four decades.

Moving from the Tuscan Hills and piazzas of Florence, to the smog of London’s East End, Still Life is a sweeping, joyful novel about beauty, love, family and fate.

My Review:

Sometimes you didn’t know you needed a particular book in your life until the moment you started reading it. Still Life by Sarah Winman was this book. My goodness, it is absolutely stunning and my heart sings with so much happiness and joy after reading it. It is definitely one of my favourite reads so far in 2021!

It follows a cast of characters (and even a parrot!) from 1944 during WWII to 1970s; from post war east London to the beautiful Florence Italy. Each character has their own life story to tell, either happy or sad; desperate or hopeful. They are different but they are all part of this close knit circle of friends and families who always look out for each other and love each other. This is Sarah at her best. There are war, art, literature, philosophy, wine, food, music, the richness of Italy and most important of all, the love for life. It is a tender examination of humanity and art, individual and community, human connection and nature, romances and friendships. Let alone it was so humorous, I couldn’t even stop myself but laughed out loud so many times. I just love it. I love all of it!

Sarah’s writing is so charming and visceral. What’s most extraordinary was the way Sarah captured the most ordinary thing and tiny moment in life but made us realise it was these tiny moments that made our life extraordinary.

Everytime I read a Sarah Winman book, I feel like an awakening in a part of my soul, it’s much needed. It is so beautiful and it is full of life and compassion. I love every single moment of it. I never want it to end, never! Still Life is out today, you need to read this book!

Thank you so much Liv and 4th Estate Book for gifting me this beautiful copy.

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