CUBE Book Club Reviews: Tin Man and A Little Life


Tin Man by Sarah Winman


"This is almost a love story. But it’s not as simple as that.

Ellis and Michael are twelve-year-old boys 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 overbearing fathers. 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?”

What We Thought

Most of our group read and enjoyed this title, finding it to be a similar style to that of Ian McEwan’s work.  Quite a few of the group had also read and enjoyed titles by Sarah Winman before so were once again happy to read another of her works. This latest book did not disappoint with the majority of the group finding it an enjoyable read and would happily recommend it to others.

We found the style of writing to be very poetic and the use of art as a central theme to the book a nice addition to the underlying messages. The setting of Oxford, and descriptions throughout were vivid and well portrayed.  A couple of our book clubbers did find it to be quite true to life and a little too ‘real’ in terms of the more negative themes of the book, with particularly dominant father figures used throughout and feelings of regret and disappointment.

CUBE Book Club Average Rating: 7/10

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara


“A Little Life follows four college classmates—broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition—as they move to New York in search of fame and fortune. While their relationships, which are tinged by addiction, success, and pride, deepen over the decades, the men are held together by their devotion to the brilliant, enigmatic Jude, a man scarred by an unspeakable childhood trauma. A hymn to brotherly bonds and a masterful depiction of love in the twenty-first century, Hanya Yanagihara’s stunning novel is about the families we are born into, and those that we make for ourselves.”

What We Thought

Only a few of our book clubbers took on this epic read, one of which had read it before and decided to read it again. Coming in at 832 pages in paperback, this book club choice was no small feat. The ones who read it found it to be enjoyable, compelling and very powerful. Whilst the storyline is intense, the writing itself pulled the book clubbers in with likeable characters whom you grow to be invested in. The way our group described this book has encouraged other book clubbers to give it a go even if they weren’t sure initially. In terms of length, although at times some chapters felt a little laborious, they agreed that it added to the sense of time in the narrative – following the characters as they grew and pulling you further into it. Ultimately, we found this one a worthy read to invest your time into.  

CUBE Book Club Average Rating:  9/10



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