Still Life was published in early November but I was not ready to review this title until now. That is because I chose to read the novel very slowly as, for me, it was one to savor. This novelist has a unique voice and that comes across loud and clear in this beautiful work.
The title had multiple meanings for me. As there is much about art in the book, it can refer to a classic form of painting, the still life. However, to me, it refers to still, as in on-going, life or still, as in quiet and unmoving. In part, I mean, how people go on when they have faced all that life has to bring to a person, everything from war, to love, to loss, to aging, to relationships to art, to travel, to home and more.
Ms. Winman has her very own authorial voice and this led me to need a bit of time to fully enter the world of the novel. At first, I was distracted by the absence of quotation marks for example. The story also goes through time and a number of locations.
The characters are quirky and unique. I enjoyed getting to know everyone and their connections to one another. Just a few of these folks include:
Ulysses: He survived WWII. What leads him back to Italy?
Evelyn: A gay woman who also survives the war. She is a professor who first met Ulysses on a significant night.
Peg: She was the woman for Ulysses except….
Alys or kid: She is Peg’s child but Ulysses is the one who parents her.
Spend time in this novel. Read it slowly but with enthusiasm. It is special.
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.