NB’s Recommendation for the month of June is the outstanding Still Life by Sarah Winman. What better way to introduce the novel, than through words from the novel’s Editor, Kishani Widyaratna, Editorial Director at 4th Estate:
Sarah Winman has built up a devoted readership over three novels, with readers falling for her exquisite chronicling of human relationships and her generous and empathetic storytelling. So, when Sarah told all of us at 4th Estate that her fourth novel would be her most ambitious yet, we leapt into it with huge excitement. Still Life sweeps from 1944 to 1980, moving from the Tuscan Hills to the post-war East End and settling in Florence. The story follows Ulysses Temper, one-time soldier and globe-maker and sexagenarian Evelyn Skinner, art historian and possible spy, who meet one evening and alter the course of each other’s lives for decades to come.
Still Life is a book about many things, it’s about chance and serendipity, ruin and restoration, the transformative power of art, the families we make and the surprising possibilities in each of our lives. Beautifully written and big-hearted, it is above all a novel that pulses with that rare thing: joy. To read it is to feel transported to a sunny table in a Florentine piazza, watching the hum of people around you and dreaming of how you might be able to move in too. Sarah and all of us at 4th Estate hope it will bring much joy and escape to you when you read it this summer. We can’t wait to hear what you think.