Still Life by Sarah Winman
A story that burrows deep into your heart with colourful characters (and a parrot) that live and develop with the story. A fleeting encounter during the intensity of war becomes a lifelong obsession which shadows much of the story and the city of Florence becomes a living entity. Most of the action takes place there with forays back and forth to the East End. English men in Italy gradually go native as the Italian psyche seeps into their souls and the contrast is striking! The importance of art is central to the novel- from raucous bar sing a longs to opera, from Italian art history to intricate woodwork but in the end it is relationships that matter and sustain the story until the conclusion. Well worth persevering with the unconventional style which soon becomes the norm - I didn't want it to end and rationed the second half to make it last longer!
Submitted by Jill