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Whimsical novel set in FLORENCE (and LONDON)

7th December 2021

Still Life by Sarah Winman, whimsical novel set in Florence (and London).

Whimsical novel set in FLORENCE (and LONDON)

During WW2, two people’s lives intersect – perhaps on some kind of clandestine mission – in the Tuscan Hills and post war they return to their more ordinary lives in very different parts of London.

This is the story of how life pans out for them, their families and for their circle of friends, drawn out over 4 decades as the world changes and evolves around them.

Ulysses, now having once tasted all that Florence has to offer, eventually sets off with a friend (Cres) and a friend’s young daughter in tow (referred to as the ‘Kid’ or Alys), oh, and not forgetting the parrot.  Ulysses has come into some money and they decide to set up a pensione in anticipation of attracting guests from far and wide.

Cres has done what all newcomers to the city need to do in order to get under the skin of the city – he reads E M Forster’s A Room with a View, to get a sense of the place, and go down to a deeper level (now, there a good idea, a kind of trip fiction don’t you think 😉…). He even consigns his Baedecker guidebook to the floor, where it becomes a satisfactory doorstop. They name their new enterprise Bertolini, after the pensione in the novel, but that soon morphs into Il Papagallo in homage to the parrot.

It’s a book about life and getting stuck in as best you can. Sarah is a gifted writer who brings her array of mis-matched characters to colourful life and sets them in situations, with just enough whimsy to bring a smile to the readers’ face.

IWhimsical novel set in FLORENCE (and LONDON)nterestingly she has a lot of dialogue but uses no speech marks which I thought might be an irritating device but actually gives the narrative a stream-lined flow which proves to be very readable. Also the sprayed edges (“spredges”) on some editions are worth a mention!

You will get your fix of Florence with art and food and just the general ambience!

Tina for the TripFiction Team

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