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P. 1
If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This: Fiction

If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This: Fiction

Ratings:

3.81

(102)
|Views: 194|Likes:
FINALIST FOR THE FRANK O’CONNOR SHORT STORY AWARD

NOW WITH AN ADDITIONAL STORY.

Heralding the arrival of a stunning new voice in American fiction, If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This takes readers into the minds and hearts of people navigating the unsettling transitions that life presents to us all: A father struggles to forge an independent identity as his blind daughter prepares for college. A mother comes to terms with her adult daughter’s infidelity. An artist mourns the end of a romance while painting the portrait of a dying man. Brilliant, hopeful, and fearlessly honest, If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This illuminates the truths of human relationships, truths we come to recognize in these characters and in ourselves. 

BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Robin Black's Life Drawing.

Look for the If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This discussion guide inside.
Join the Circle for author chats and more.
RandomHouseReadersCircle.com
FINALIST FOR THE FRANK O’CONNOR SHORT STORY AWARD

NOW WITH AN ADDITIONAL STORY.

Heralding the arrival of a stunning new voice in American fiction, If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This takes readers into the minds and hearts of people navigating the unsettling transitions that life presents to us all: A father struggles to forge an independent identity as his blind daughter prepares for college. A mother comes to terms with her adult daughter’s infidelity. An artist mourns the end of a romance while painting the portrait of a dying man. Brilliant, hopeful, and fearlessly honest, If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This illuminates the truths of human relationships, truths we come to recognize in these characters and in ourselves. 

BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Robin Black's Life Drawing.

Look for the If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This discussion guide inside.
Join the Circle for author chats and more.
RandomHouseReadersCircle.com

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Publish date: Mar 30, 2010
Added to Scribd: Sep 05, 2013
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reservedISBN:9780679603689
List Price: $11.99 Buy Now

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04/16/2014

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akmargie reviewed this
Rated 2/5
And I'm done with literary fiction. Blame it on me, some deficiency makes me incapable of being moved or impressed by your prose. I also don't appreciate the false advertising. These stories weren't about "keen observations of the human condition" as the blurbs would lead you to believe. They were about dying spouses (mostly cancer), dead brothers, dead babies...shall I go on?
When I took a creative writing (read no genre, just literary fiction please) workshop my teacher said that protagonist should undergo some type of change in these stories, the subtler the better. Maybe that's why Black is getting mountains of praise. The stories are masterfully written, no doubt. But what happens (someone dies)? What changes(protag feels bad)?
I also feel there's a detachment, a resentment of the writer toward her characters. I didn't really care about any of the characters I met.
Maddening, the whole thing was maddening. More annoyed at myself that I didn't abandon this the first time I tried. But noooo...everyone loved this book, even Oprah.
kara_4 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
I picked up this collection because I had loved "Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It" and heard that this was in a similar vein. It was, but I found it lacking. The stories were beautifully told. The characters were well-defined but didn't develop even though the events in the stories should have led them too. It left me with a bleak outlook of the human condition which may have been the author's intent.I would have found most of these stories, had I read each individually as a standalone piece, wonderful. However, taken together, the overarching sadness and tragedy in so many different ways and from so many different perspectives wore me down.
girlsgonereading reviewed this
Rated 5/5
The line between good writing and eloquence is so small that is difficult to describe. If I Loved You is pure eloquence. I can’t explain exactly why, but as soon as you read the first line you know…this book is going to be phenomenal.If I Loved You is a collection of short stories, but the book is constructed with a running theme that connects them all. Each of the characters is focused on time: how it changes you, how it races by us, and how we all wish we could let go of the need to control it. Death takes over many of the stories, but Robin Black used these stories to focus on hope.For example in the story, “If I Loved You I Would Tell You This” (clearly the one the title came from) the main character is dying. She is having a conflict with her neighbor-a neighbor who doesn’t know about her condition. This character could easily have turned bitter, but Black does the opposite. Instead this character tells us all the things she would tell this neighbor if they were close, if they loved each other at all. It was beautiful and touching, and I think about it still.Similarly, Black does a wonderful job describing all the characters. One of my favorite stories in the book-”Gaining Ground”-is only twelve pages long, but in that short time you get an entire back story, conflict, and setting. With just a phrase, Black creates a story that you immerse yourself in.So maybe that is eloquence…maybe I was able to describe it! If I Loved You I Would Tell You This is pure eloquence, pure art because it creates a whole world in a sentence, and that sentence still hasn’t let me go.
cariola_6 reviewed this
Rated 5/5
Robin Black claims that it took her ten years to complete the eight stories in this collection. Her careful crafstmanship shows, and I suspect that life during those ten years also gave her further insights into the depths of the human heart. Some of her characters are one-of-a-kinders, others are more familiar, but all of them share a common sense of loss. A father taking his blind daughter to meet the guide dog who will help her in her journey forth to a new life at college. A woman--a mother whose mentally handicapped son has had to be institutionalized--stricken with terminal cancer, addressing on paper the new neighbor who plans to build a fence that will make it impossible to open the car door at a distance from the house that she is able to walk. A portrait artist, long divorced, learning about love from the wife of a client fading into Alzheimer's. A young girl trying desperately to believe that her eccentric friend has the formula for making dreams come true. A mother faced with two simultaneous challenges, ungrounded electricity surging through the water pipes and her father's suicide. A woman trying to hide a recent stroke from her family, which includes her aging 80-year old husband and a married daughter who has embarked on an affair. In two different stories, two women unable to let go of post-divorce anger and grief, one clinging to a male friend who longs to be more, the other to her twin brother. An estranged father visiting his daughter, now married, in another country after a 14-year separation, trying to reconcile his past and his future. A woman reliving the death of her brother through her son's loss of a close friend.These are the kind of stories that surprise you with moments of recognition and understanding. Yes, it's true, as other have written here, that they aren't likely to leave you laughing. This isn't a book for those looking for romance, fantasy, or even action. But while they may not initially seem optimistic, few of these stories are down and out depressing. If anything, they speak to our will to endure, to survive, to change, to hope. Black has the ability to provoke an exquisite emotion with a carefully wrought image, a refrain, a moment of silence. Reading If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This is a deeply moving human experience. I look forward to Black's next collection.
bale_5 reviewed this
Rated 3/5
All of the stories were relative to true life situations. Some were very well written (i.e., If I Love You, I Would Tell You This, the story about the blind daughter, etc - sorry I do not have the titles with me) and particularly moving. However, I wished the author's writing style matched the intensity of her stories. It is not that she is a bad writer. She is simply not a master writer, yet.
katharinedb reviewed this
Rated 3/5
The version I read of this was missing portions of Austine's writtings as it was part of my text book - so I feel I am cheating by posting that I read this. But regardless of scholastic edits, a truly timeless piece that attempts to answer the centuries old question of why does God let evil things happen/exist?
hemlokgang reviewed this
Rated 4/5
I found myself both depressed and enjoying this collection of short stories by Robin Black. It was a depressing experience because she did such a good job of capturing and describing elements of the human condition. It was enjoyable, because she did it very well. I particularly enjoyed the titles of the short stories, almost all of which could be taken literally or metaphorically. For example, "Pine"....wood in a floor or to pine away for someone/something.........or "Gaining Ground".......grounding the electrical system in a home so as not to be accidentally electrocuted or making gains in one's emotional life......or, finally, "The Country Once Lived In"......a geographic location or the family you left behind......Clever and not overdone. The stories are quite straightforward, maybe a little too much so, but otherwise a very good book.
lostbooks reviewed this
Rated 1/5
I couldn't even finish this book. The first two stories were so slow and depressing I had no desire to read any more of them. Maybe I'll pick up again when I don't have anything else to read.
jayceebee_1 reviewed this
Rated 5/5
Beautiful writing - this collection of stories from Robin Black is deeply moving. Real life situations, and stories that run the gamut of human emotions. The writing is exquisite. The only reason I didn't give 4 stars is that the book overall is so melancholy. Thank you for the opportunity to early review!
jstraws_1 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
I received this book through the Early Reviewers program, but was knee-deep in a long novel when it arrived, so it was a couple of weeks before I had a chance to dig in. But it was worth the wait.These short stories are remarkably polished; if I didn't know this was a debut collection, I never would have guessed. Fans of Amy Bloom and Alice Munro are not likely to be disappointed by Black's offerings.The title story, "If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This," is without question one of the book's strongest. It's a powerful illustration, in following one couple's struggles with terminal illness, a disabled son and an unrelenting new neighbor, of how little we know of the private lives of those around us--that we never really have any idea what other people (be they our neighbors, our waitress, our cashier at the grocery store) are going through, and that if we did, we might be kinder, or behave more gently.Black's characters have the capacity to evoke compassion and feeling in the very short space we have to get to know each one. Their stories are satisfying--small in length but not in scope. I recommend this collection to any fan of the short form, and look forward to seeing more from Black.

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If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This: Fiction