About the Book
Publisher: Tinder Press | Release Date: July 27, 2018 | Pages: 208
Genre: Adult, Contemporary | Format: eARC | Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Ellis and Michael are twelve when they first become friends, and for a long time it is just the two of them, cycling the streets of Oxford, teaching themselves how to swim, discovering poetry, and dodging the fists of an overbearing father. And then one day this closest of friendships grows into something more.
But then we fast forward a decade or so, to find that Ellis is married to Annie, and Michael is nowhere in sight. Which leads to the question, what happened in the years between?
This is almost a love story. But it’s not as simple as that.
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This is a beautiful tale about first love, friendship, and the ebbs and flows of life. This book packs a lot into its 224 pages, detailing the instant and deep friendship between Ellis and Michael. This is not a linear story, and there are differing perspectives.
“They watched he shifting colors of the sun and the deep shadows eavesdropped on their grief, and the vivid descant of birdsong slowly muted to unimaginable silence.”
There are not any quotation marks for dialog, which in combination with the stream of consciousness style of writing may not be for every reader. But it works so well with this story. The prose shifts ever so slightly depending on the point of view and time period: the present is almost choppy and disjointed, while the past is more flowing and flowery prose. The monotonous and minutiae of life are highlighted in almost every line; little things at the time hold more meaning later when we recollect them.
“All of it was important, he wanted to say. You were important to me, he wanted to say.”
I am so glad that I stuck with this book. I will admit that I was frustrated and confused the first 12%, but it slowly won me over. By the time I neared the end of Michael’s narrative, I saw the beauty that Winman crafted. While we experience life in a linear fashion, we also experience life somewhat in reverse through recollection and relationships gain new meaning with additional information. This is a unique and refreshing read.
Thank you Netgalley and the publisher, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, for the electronic ARC in exchange for my honest review.