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Life Drawing (Hardcover)
August 2014 Indie Next List
“In their late 40s and childless, Owen and Augusta move to an isolated farm house to pursue their art -- he as a writer, she as a painter. When Alison, a divorcee escaping her own demons, unexpectedly moves in next door, the fault lines in all of their lives threaten to break open to reveal layer upon layer of grief, loss, and love. Black is a master storyteller. Her prose is distilled, and again and again she offers a phrase or a sentence that captures a whole life. An extraordinary novel.”
— Sheila Daley, Barrett Bookstore, Darien, CT
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR
Taut, elegant . . .Black is a writer of great wisdom. Claire Messud, "The Guardian"(UK)
Augusta Edelman Gus to her friends is a painter, a wife, and not always the best judge of her own choices one of them bad enough that she and her husband, Owen, have fled their longtime city home and its reminders of troubling events. Now, three years into their secluded country life, Gus works daily on the marriage she nearly lost, discovers new inspiration for her art, and contemplates the mysteries of a childhood tragedy. But this quiet, healing rhythm is forever shattered one hot July day when a stranger moves into the abandoned house next door and crosses more boundaries than just those between their lands. A fierce, honest, and moving portrait of a woman grappling with her fate, "Life Drawing" is a debut novel as beautiful and unsparing as the human heart.
Praise for "Life Drawing"
The page-turning suspense of Robin Black's novel comes from her beautiful, honest portrait of a marriage, of a life. . . . A novel of consequence, and a stunning one. " San Francisco Chronicle"
Gripping . . . the power of this story is how it illuminates, in utterly compelling detail, the complex give-and-take of a couple trying to save their marriage. "O: The Oprah Magazine"
Truly brilliant . . . Black] is that rare writer whose gift for prose is matched by her mastery of the other elements that make a great novel. . . . Her] psychological prowess and incisive observations lend an edge even to seemingly straightforward scenes. " Chicago Tribune "
Races to its resolution . . . Black's writing is clear and direct with] observations about the way people relate that resonate well after the book is closed. " The New York Times Book Review.
About the Author
Robin Black is the author of the critically acclaimed short story collection "If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This, "a finalist for the Frank O Connor Short Story Prize. Her stories and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including "One Story, Colorado Review, The Georgia Review, The Southern Review, O: The Oprah Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, "and the anthology "The Best Creative Nonfiction, Vol. I." A recipient of fellowships from the Leeway Foundation and the MacDowell Colony, Black was the 2012 Distinguished Visiting Writer at Bryn Mawr College and has taught most recently in the Brooklyn College MFA Program. She lives with her family in Philadelphia."
Praise for Life Drawing
“A brutal yet tender look at marriage and creative partnership that hums with thriller-like tension . . . It might be the nearest thing to a perfect novel that I have ever read.”—The Bookseller (UK)
“Life Drawing is a riveting story about the corrosive effects of betrayal, and a beautifully written meditation on the delicate balance of intimacy and isolation within a long marriage.”—Alice Sebold, author of The Lovely Bones
“Life Drawing is a magnificent literary achievement with a combination of wisdom and velocity that distinguishes it from any other novel I have read, an intimate revelation of love’s unlikely endurance and of art’s role in reviving and redeeming the past, and a heart-stopping, jaw-dropping thriller. I deeply loved Owen and Gus, and I was pulling for them from the first page to the last.”—Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!
“Life Drawing is a rare and exquisitely wrought portrait of two people equally devoted to their marriage and their art, a couple striving to make sense of a dilemma in which fidelity, honesty, kindness, and betrayal all make claims. The prose is admirably exacting, tender, wise, and elegant—and the story left this reader’s heart aching.”—David Wroblewski, author of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle
“A wise, finely observed portrait of the workings of a marriage, as compelling as it is convincing . . . Life Drawing is intelligent, clear-eyed storytelling, exploring love and jealousy and the mistakes we make in their name.”—M. L. Stedman, author of The Light Between Oceans
Praise for If I loved you, I would tell you this
“Pitch-perfect . . . so deft, so understated, and so compelling . . . Fans of Mary Gaitskill, Amy Bloom, and Miranda July will feel like they’ve found gold in a river when they discover Robin Black.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
“Each story reads like a mini-novel. . . . Worlds are contained in a single page. And the writing . . . oh, the writing.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Powerful and touching . . . sparkling with poetic vision.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer