About the book
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.
Most of our readers loved this book.
We found it to be a long epic story that weaves through the lives of diverse characters. These many characters, with their exposed personal faults and their redeeming personal traits, were discussed animatedly and at length by our group.
The main character, Ulysses Temper, was a much-loved character in the book.
One reader summed up the story well by saying “this is a story about flawed characters adapting to kinder versions of themselves and it seems to be by the influence of one man, Ulysses Temper.”
The story begins in Italy during the last stages of the second world war and moves from 1944 through to 1979. The descriptive narrative contrasts between the dirty smog of Londen’s east end and the Italian city of Florence. The beautiful food and piazzas, the history of magnificent art and the wonderful Tuscan countryside.
Our readers described the story as being about friendship, love, art and community.
A wonderful story of historical fiction. Beautifully written and researched by the author Sarah Winman. Highly recommended. A criticism of the book from some readers was that it was hard to read for them due to small copy print. This did not allow the story to flow easily and fatigued some due to the concentration required.
Read by MJ Readers