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Life Drawing

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From the author of If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This (a finalist for the Frank O'Connor Short Story Prize), Life Drawing is a fierce, honest and moving story of married life - its betrayals, intimacies, and secrets.

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 O, The Oprah Magazine and the New York Times Magazine. 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.


Suffused with remarkably sustained intensity ... Full of insight into the fragility of marriage, this is a memorable read. Sunday Times Atmosphere, in fiction as in life, counts for a great deal: the invisible but palpable quality of the air, the moods and emotions that circulate between people in currents. The ability not only to ascertain these things but to convey them to a reader is a particular gift, elusive to many writers of otherwise considerable descriptive powers. It is a gift richly bestowed on, and carefully deployed by, Robin Black, previously the author of an acclaimed short story collection, If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This... Black is a writer of great wisdom, and illuminates, without undue emphasis, the flickering complexity of individual histories ... The atmosphere of their love, of this house, is one of the most powerful aspects of Black's unsettling and compelling novel ... what Black - whose taut, elegant prose is both effective and affecting - conveys so well is that the farmhouse is far from unpeopled ... Life Drawing is at once quiet and memorable. This makes it far from fashionable, and all the more to be applauded. Its author pursues real and vital questions. Astringent and wise, Black is not afraid to discomfit her readers. This novel, like life, is uneasy: what a relief. -- Claire Messud Guardian Life Drawing is the best thing I've read in ages. It's about a female artist who inadvertently sets a tragedy in motion. It has everything to do with female creativity, desire, the Mobius strip of art and life, occulted violence, literal and figurative ghosts - it's awesome. -- Karen Russell Elle 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 beautiful heart-breaker: it draws you in, thrills you, obsesses you, and finally devastates you. Robin Black has given us death, art and the shifting sands of a marriage, all wrapped up in subtle, exquisite prose. Honestly, what more could you ask for? -- Liza Klaussmann, author of TIGERS IN RED WEATHER Black brings a wealth of insight to this fine-tuned and exactly observed debut about a marriage in crisis ... With such well-rounded characters and a highwire level of suspense, the novel builds to a devastating resolution. Daily Mail 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 Robin Black's Life Drawing is a richly textured portrait, unflinching in its consideration of the stuff of human relationships, alive with beauty in its exploration of the creative process. Anyone who has read Black's masterful short stories has been waiting with excitement for this, her first novel, and it does not disappoint. What it does do is to move, fascinate and eventually haunt the reader. -- Belinda McKeon, author of SOLACE '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 ... tender, wise, and elegant.' David Wroblewski, author of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle A magnificent literary achievement with a combination of wisdom and velocity that distinguishes it from any other novel I have read ... it is also a heart-stopping, jaw-dropping thriller. Novels are only very rarely this insightful or this gripping, and Life Drawing, which is both, will leave you changed. -- Karen Russell, author of SWAMPLANDIA! I was riveted while reading this book, and reeling from its power for days afterwards. An absolute triumph of a novel. -- Shilpi Somaya Gowda, author of SECRET DAUGHTER From an award-winning short story writer comes this intricate portrait of a long marriage and the discontents that come with it, which unfolds both elegantly and urgently. Black skewers this middle-age relationship with her top-notch writing and almost unbearable suspense. Woman and Home Mature marriages don't get a lot of play in fiction, but Robin Black brings one vividly to life in Life Drawing, the debut that follows her acclaimed 2010 story collection, If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This. Authors like Karen Russell and Alice Sebold have already praised this tale of an artistic couple who find that the secrets and betrayals of their decades-long marriage are stirred up by the beautiful divorcee who moves in next door. BookPage Black's characters are three-dimensional, and her depiction of their relationships, particularly between the two women, is masterly. An astute inquiry into relationships and betrayal, this novel is nerve-wracking yet irresistibly readable. Publishers Weekly Black skilfully conveys the way a long-term relationship can so easily shift between love and affection and a petty tallying of old hurts and disappointments. In addition, she delivers a hair-raising portrait of a poisonous female friendship. Full of emotional turmoil yet subtle in its effect, this elegant novel is sure to draw in both women's fiction and literary fiction fans. Booklist

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