“Still Life,” by Sarah Winman, is a book you can lose yourself in. The author’s writing is exquisite. Her character development is perfect. It’s also just a good story.
The narrative involves seven characters who are friends and former spouses. They come together as almost a communal family. Ulysses is the main character; the others revolve around him. The story begins in 1944 as World War II is ending. The storyline moves between England and Florence Italy, and ends in 1979.
The characters range in age from their mid-20s to their mid-80s. They experience a range of emotions—wisdom, acceptance, and enormous amounts of love, kindness and honesty. New people become members of the group and there’s a wonderful reunion of one of the characters who has been gone for a while.
The group supports and validates each other as their lives intertwine and they become a remarkable unit. “Still Life” is a gentle read, without violence, meanness or suspense.
The author weaves art and poetry together into the characters’ lives. The book also is a travelogue of sorts as some of the characters go back and forth from England to Italy.
“Still Life” is a wonderful book with which to linger and the characters stay with you long after you finish the final page.