By: Sarah Winman
Tuscany, 1944: As Allied troops advance and bombs fall around deserted villages, a young English soldier, Ulysses Temper, finds himself in the wine cellar of a deserted villa. There, he has a chance encounter with Evelyn Skinner, a middle-aged art historian who has come to Italy to salvage paintings from the ruins and recall long-forgotten memories of her own youth. In each other, Ulysses and Evelyn find a kindred spirit amongst the rubble of war-torn Italy, and set off on a course of events that will shape Ulysses’s life for the next four decades.
As Ulysses returns home to London, reimmersing himself in his crew at The Stoat and Parrot — a motley mix of pub crawlers and eccentrics — he carries his time in Italy with him. And when an unexpected inheritance brings him back to where it all began, Ulysses knows better than to tempt fate, and returns to the Tuscan hills.
With beautiful prose, extraordinary tenderness, and bursts of humor and light, Still Life is a sweeping portrait of unforgettable individuals who come together to make a family, and a richly drawn celebration of beauty and love in all its forms.
Helen says: 🤓🤓🤓 3/4 (I still haven’t quite finished it)
Very creative…what a story! I feel this book didn’t quite get the credit it deserves…a sleeper for sure. I was fearful to pick it up because I suffer from WW2 historical fiction fatigue. Guess what…It isn’t even about WW2. It takes place in the aftermath. This book was beautifully written in a poetic cadence that is hard to describe. A meandering story, I am still not quite sure where it is headed and haven’t quite finished it yet. There are a ton of colorful side characters that would help make a delightful series on Britbox!
Holly says: 🤓🤓🤓🤓1/4
My favorite book of the month – original, funny, touching with amazing character development. I also learned a lot from this book, from a historical perspective. Much of the book is set in one of my favorite cities – Florence…Italy, not South Carolina – but now that Buc-ee’s has opened, Florence, SC is right up there too. You will love Ulysses, Cress, Pete the piano player, and Claude the parrot. The beautiful, talented, never-satisfied, selfish Peg may get on your last nerve. Read this one – it is a beautifully written great story. Already planning my trip to Florence (Italy, that is! Although it may be sooner to South Carolina…a brisket sandwich is in my future…)