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Still Life

Sarah Winman

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Completed on 18 March 2023
ISBN : 9780008505806
Also available on Amazon

1944, in the ruined wine cellar of a Tuscan villa, as bombs fall around them, two strangers meet and share an extraordinary evening. Ulysses Temper is a young British soldier, Evelyn Skinner is a sexagenarian art historian and possible spy. She has come to Italy to salvage paintings from the wreckage and relive memories of the time she encountered EM Forster and had her heart stolen by an Italian maid in a particular Florentine room with a view. Evelyn’s talk of truth and beauty plants a seed in Ulysses’ mind that will shape the trajectory of his life – and of those who love him – for the next four decades. Moving from the Tuscan Hills and piazzas of Florence, to the smog of London’s East End, Still Life is a sweeping, joyful novel about beauty, love, family and fate. 


An awesome book and an awesome story. In the damaged wine cellar of a Tuscan mansion, two strangers meet in 1944 and spend an incredible evening together as bombs rain all around them. Young British soldier Ulysses Temper and maybe spied-on sexagenarian art historian Evelyn Skinner. She has travelled to Italy in order to recover artworks from the rubble and revisit the memory of the moment she met EM Forster and had her heart broken by an Italian maid in a special Florentine apartment with a view. In Ulysses' mind, Evelyn's discussion of truth and beauty sows a seed that will influence the course of his life and the lives of those who love him for the next forty years. The story is heartwarming and the characters were really amazing.

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