Still Life Book Review – The Literary Edit

Founding and running the Bondi Literary Salon is without question one of my greatest joys; and there are few things I like better than getting together with fellow book lovers to discuss our latest reading. I am not allowed to make friends with people I would not otherwise have met; but it’s also a great way to stick to a reading plan (in a way). And while I keep counting the days to the end of the lockdown, a monthly meeting – albeit via Zoom – has certainly given me something to look forward to.

And so I signed up immediately when I saw that Clay and Hannah from Bouquiniste in Kiama were also holding a book club in September. A one-off event where author Sarah Winman discussed her latest book, Still Life, gave me an excuse to move the book to the top of my TBR stack, and I read it while sitting in my window seat on a sunny Sydney winter weekend ; must not leave the house.

Still life book review

The kind of book we all need in our lives will navigate the covid-19 moat, from the first page of Still Life I was transported to a distant land as a chance encounter between a 64-year-old art historian Evelyn Skinner and the twenty-four year old British soldier Ulysses Temper are set at the foot of the Tuscan hills. And while the meeting is only fleeting; It’s one that makes a lasting impression on both characters, even if it will be years before they meet again. Because while both characters return to London, fate will see them again in the beautiful city of Florence after being reunited forever after a series of near misses.

Still Life is a multi-layered tapestry that combines friendship with loss and heartbreak and love. Still Life has it all: lively and lively characters, two contrasting shots brought to life by both the characters it contains and Winman’s wonderfully atmospheric writing. From the magic and grandeur of Florence to the gloomy setting of a pub in East End London, Still Life is full of magic and joy, art and history, and offers the reader a wonderful display of the wealth of Florentine heritage, from the wine to the meal to the glorious Characters.

A must for anyone who wants to get away from it all; Still Life by Sarah Winman is the absolute ultimate in dreaming decadence.

Still Life by Sarah Winman Abstract

Still Life is a beautiful, generous, richly illustrated story of people who were brought together through love, war, art, flood … and the spirit of EM Forster.

We just have to know what the heart is capable of, Evelyn.

And do you know what it is capable of?

I do. Grace and anger.

The year is 1944, and in the ruined wine cellar of a Tuscan villa, when Allied troops advance and bombs fall around them, two strangers meet and spend an extraordinary evening together.

Ulysses Temper is a young British soldier and former globe maker, Evelyn Skinner is a six-year-old art historian and possible spy. She has come to Italy to recover paintings from the ruins and relive her memories of the time when she met EM Forster and her heart was stolen by an Italian maid in a certain Florentine room with a view.

These two unlikely people find soulmates in each other, and Evelyn’s talk about truth and beauty plants a seed in Ulysses mind that will shape the path of his life – and those who love him – for the next four decades.

Moving from the Tuscan hills to the smog of the East End and the piazzas of Florence, Still Life is a comprehensive, mischievous, well-populated novel about beauty, love, family and destiny.

Buy Still Life at, Book Depository, Waterstones, Amazon or Amazon AU.

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I loved this writer interview with Sarah Winman on the Waterstones blog.

Sarah Winman author biography

Sarah Winman (* 1964) is a British actress and author. In 2011, her debut novel If God Was A Rabbit became an international bestseller and won multiple awards for Winman, including New Writer of the Year at the Galaxy National Book Awards.

More Sarah Winman books

Sarah Winman has also written A Year of Marvelous Ways, When God Was a Rabbit, and Tinman.

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