Set between World War II and the 1980s, Still Life is a beautiful, big-hearted story of strangers brought together by love, war, art, flood, and the ghost of E. M. Forster, from the bestselling, prize-winning author of Tin Man and When God Was a Rabbit.
In the wine-cellar of a Tuscan villa, as the Allies advance and bombs fall around them, two people meet and share an extraordinary evening: Ulysses Temper is a young British soldier from London’s East End; Evelyn Skinner is a worldly older art historian and possible spy. She has come to Italy to rescue paintings from the ruins and relive her memories of the time she encountered E.M. 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’s mind that night, one that will shape the trajectory of his life—and the lives of those who love him—for the next four decades. Moving from war-ravaged Tuscany to the boozy confines of The Stoat and Parrot pub in London and the piazzas of post-war Florence, Still Life is both sweeping and intimate, mischievous and deeply felt. It is a novel about beauty, love and fate, about the things that make life worth living, and the things we’re prepared to die for.