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I Knew You'd Be Lovely

3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  877 Ratings  ·  166 Reviews
Alethea Black's deeply moving and wholly original debut features a coterie of memorable characters who have reached emotional crossroads in their lives. Brimming with humor, irony, and insights about the unpredictable nature of life, the unbearable beauty of fate, and the power that one moment, or one decision, can have to transform us,I Knew You'd Be Lovely delivers that ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published July 5th 2011 by Broadway Books (first published January 1st 2011)
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Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
If you don't usually read short stories, consider making an exception for this entertaining little collection.
There are plenty of good reasons to read these stories, but the best reason of all is just for pure delight. Alethea Black is someone you'd like to have for a friend so you could enjoy her playful nature and the funny lines she loves to share. Every day when I sat down to read a story or two, I couldn't wait to find out what new way she'd find to delight me.

There are thirteen stories i
Apr 27, 2011 Autumn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: general-fiction
I Knew You'd Be Lovely is a brilliant collection of short stories. It's so brilliant, in fact, that it may be too much for some readers.

Do not read I Knew You'd Be Lovely if you have ever broken up with a boyfriend or girlfriend, been divorced, are going through a divorce, are thinking of divorce, or your parents are divorced. Do not read this book if you had sisters who were your best friends, or sisters who were total strangers to you. Do not read this book if you have ever suffered heartache
Richard Gilbert
Apr 28, 2012 Richard Gilbert rated it it was amazing
These are funny, sexy, wise stories; some are sad, yet somehow they’re always hopeful. Maybe my favorite story, perhaps partly because I read it first, on line at Narrative magazine, and imprinted on its tough beauty, is “The Only Way Out is Through.” The story is about a man trying to help his angry, disturbed son by taking him on a camping trip. The boy is suicidal, too, it turns out, and their trip is one long crisis. The narrative features an unusual flash-forward, deftly handled, that’s as ...more
Jun 21, 2011 Theresa rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Theresa by: Amazon Vine
As a child, my mother had given me a book of short stories written just for girls. The characters were ones I could identify with, making it a treasure that I read over and over. I carried it with me everywhere I went, and I shared it with my dearest and closest friends. I have not come across a book like that since...until now.

"I Knew You'd Be Lovely" is a collection of thirteen heartwarming and touching stories that one can easily identify with. They are real and so true to life; touching on s
Larry Hoffer
Dec 28, 2011 Larry Hoffer rated it it was amazing
Short story fans, or those who simply love great fiction writing, go out and pick up Alethea Black's magnificent story collection (or download it onto your eReader), I Knew You'd Be Lovely. I read this collection in one day and nearly every story left me moved beyond words, intrigued, amused, or simply amazed at Black's abilities. (And sometimes more than one of those happened simultaneously!)

The characters in each of Black's stories are at some sort of emotional crossroads. In the incredibly mo
Jun 08, 2011 Jill rated it it was amazing
Every now and then, a debut short story collection appears that makes me sit up and take notice – Interpreter of Maladies, In Other Rooms, Other Wonders, and You Are Not A Stranger here, to name three. Alethea Black has taken her place as a short story writer who shows amazing promise.

Some of the stories in I Knew You’d Be Lovely are very good and others are excellent. There are none that are bad. She writes like a dream, summing up the unpredictable human condition with insight and perceptive a
Brian Melendez
Jul 04, 2013 Brian Melendez rated it it was amazing
You know those times when you sit down with a book by an unfamiliar author, and you feel like a new friend just came into your life? I bought this book on a whim after reading a good review, took it along for a long flight, opened it to a story more or less at random, and halfway into the story was already wondering how I had never run into this author before. This book amazed and impressed me. The writing is superb, the characterization is exquisite and nuanced, and the scenery is familiar and ...more
Julie Ekkers
Sep 25, 2011 Julie Ekkers rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I loved this collection of short stories, which are about ordinary people feeling their way toward authenticity and connection. One of the stories closes with this line: "Somewhere there would be a good part, waiting to begin." I so loved that the author, by the end of most of these stories, for most of the characters, has given those characters a glimmer of the beginning of the good parts. In so doing, she makes this a very uplifting and hopeful read.

The one exception was the book's final story
Stephen Kiernan
Jun 22, 2012 Stephen Kiernan rated it it was amazing
This is a fine new voice, clever and energetic, funny without resorting to constant irony as many humorists do, with a gift at creating the moment of change -- not epiphany but decision -- and moments that will break your heart in a lovely way.

The book is a collection of stories, the narrators varied and situations various. But the keen observation and nearly fastidious details (as well as quite a few jokes) make each story an engaging and vivid read.

The characters in these stories are always o
If every short story writer was able to write with such succinct intensity and blazing purity of message, I'd be a much bigger fan of the genre. At the very least, I am now a HUGE fan of debut author Alethea Black. There are thirteen stories in this amazingly slim volume, but the quality of reading experience for each and every one of them rivals many novels that are told in ten times the pages. She is able to use just a few words to convey a highly charged emotional setting, getting you complet ...more
Donna Barnes
Aug 04, 2012 Donna Barnes rated it liked it
For my Book Club I read this short story collection and another by Elizabeth Berg --- I enjoyed Elizabeth Berg's better because the stories seemed to end better. However, there were a few that I really, really liked --- for example, the first one with the clipboard . These stories were all about relationships, and I found that very valuable of a theme --- then the next 4 or 5 stories I liked, but they had what I would consider, ineffective endings ---up in the air. Sometimes that works, but thes ...more
Kathy Hiester
Jul 24, 2011 Kathy Hiester rated it it was amazing
I Knew You'd Be Lovely is a collection of thirteen uplifting and poignant stories that one can easily identify with. Again this was a great book to keep in the car for those short trips when you are a passenger. The stories in the collections are real, touching on subjects that will make you grin, stir up past memories or tug at your heart. Because of this I was actually able to put the book down and relish each one as an individual work. This collection has made my favorites list and I bought a ...more
Jessica Ward
Jul 06, 2012 Jessica Ward rated it it was amazing
I bought this when going to B&N foe coffee. It was in the notable fiction section by the escalators, was 20% off and had a great T.S. Elliot quote at the front. I didn't even realize it was short stories until I got home. I haven't bought or connected with short stories in awhile, but I LOVED these. I tore the book up folding down pages and underlining parts. It made me laugh out loud and think about and admit to parts of my humanity I've gotten pretty good at avoiding. It was great. I want ...more
Oct 05, 2014 Sara rated it it was amazing
And what a lovely surprise this was! Sometimes I buy a book because its title or front cover calls to me. (Of course I read the back cover summary and flip through the book as well before purchasing.) Alethea Black’s I Knew You’d Be Lovely may be one of the best book discoveries I’ve made using that method. It contains thirteen short stories with memorable characters, effortless prose, and common threads of love, search for the self, and life-changing decisions. Each story, however, is a world o ...more
Sunny Smith
This was a really heartfelt book of short stories. I read it remarkably quick, because the stories drew me in and moved at a good pace. I loved that these stories looked at core emotions and the struggle to connect with others and find meaning that everyone can relate to.

Note: I did not read this for school. It was one of my first books read for pleasure in months!
Jan 10, 2016 Katty rated it really liked it
What an enjoyable little collection! This was a treat from start to finish. Black touches on important topics (such as being authentic, taking chances, and handling crises) in a succinct and entertaining fashion. I was impressed by how much is said in these stories without much overdone prose or literary devices. Instead they're simple and straightforward in the best way.
Melinda Worfolk
3.5 stars.

Sometimes my library's Overdrive recommendations (based on my currently checked out books) are truly bizarre, but I liked this one a lot, especially at first. The first three stories are among the best I've read. There were three in the middle, however, that seemed markedly more amateurish--I believe the author's notes state they were earlier works. Unfortunately, it made for a jarringly uneven reading experience.

If I were giving this a rating based on the first three stories, it wou
Nickey-Ann Leon
Jul 06, 2013 Nickey-Ann Leon rated it it was amazing
Really loved this book. Beautiful short stories that are well-written and relatable. Definitely excited for more of Althea Black's work after this read.
Mar 22, 2012 Anna rated it it was amazing
I loved the title of this book and the short stories about the details of ordinary life while trying to figure yourself out.
Sep 01, 2012 Claire rated it liked it
I loved how she allowed snippets of the characters' future to be just barely glimpsed in many of the stories.
Jun 05, 2016 Stephanie rated it really liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
I Knew You'd Be Lovely is an anthology of short stories, all written by Ms. Black. The entire collection ranges from a young girl trying to find her roots by interviewing an old high school teacher to someone searching for meaning in her parents' old lakehouse. Some of the stories are very deep, some of the stories will make you stay up late thinking about the futility of existence. I quite liked many of the stories, and the characters feel like real people even if you only get to meet them for ...more
Cecil Paddywagon
Oct 10, 2015 Cecil Paddywagon rated it it was ok
A smartly written collection of stories that "grapple" with some pretty inane issues. Black is striving for something not quite within her reach--yet. But the good news is that she's clearly capable of reaching it. Now that she's been able to demonstrate technical prowess, I'd wish for her to think her next stories, or novel, through a little bit more--most of these stories ended suddenly and patly, and without offering much to say. Also a few too many cutesy clichés, like the wise homeless man, ...more
U.R. Bowie
Apr 05, 2016 U.R. Bowie rated it really liked it
“You On a Good Day,” by Alethea Black
Published in “One Story,” #163, April 23, 2012
This is a story written totally in second person, about all the things you do on a good day.
You don’t give the finger to the black pickup truck that tailgates and passes you aggressively, then let go of the wheel to give it two fingers when you see a rainbow-tinted peace sticker on the bumper. You do not call the friend—the one who was in the hospital a few weeks ago, and whom you did not visit or call—you
Sep 05, 2011 Brian rated it it was amazing
So I'll just admit I'm a sucker for short stories. There's something about such small windows into life that gets me every time, and for a truly excellent writer, I always marvel at how they managed to pack so much character, so much feeling into a mere few pages. This is one of those collections.

Alethea Black is more in touch with the human soul than most. Almost every single story in this collection touched me to my core, even when it was Ms. Black's hilarity rather than her sadness. The stand
Kateri Ewing
Apr 05, 2012 Kateri Ewing rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
I read short stories for the little glimpses into a life. For when I don't have the attention span to commit to a novel. For when I only have a half an hour or so before bed and I want to close a book feeling the satisfaction of completing something. I don't mind stories that leave me wanting more, or that end with the door open wide enough for my own imagination to carry it forward. The stories in Black's slim volume left me with plenty to think about, and also in awe of how much can be given i ...more
AllAmerican IndianGirl
The reason why I rarely read short story collections is that I presume they lack the time to draw me deep enough into the lives and minds of the characters. And I know that’s unfair. So I’m glad that I had the chance to meet with Alethea Black, whose debut short story collection I Knew You’d Be Lovely took it more than a step further. The collection yanked me back (via the reflections of her characters) into the mindset of some of the most restless times of my own life. And it allowed me to vie ...more
Bonnie Brody
Feb 28, 2012 Bonnie Brody rated it it was amazing
Alethea Black has written a wonderful compilation of short stories, every one very good and some brilliant. I can hardly believe this is her debut collection as it is so polished and mature. She tackles diverse themes in her stories such as epiphanies, passion, regret, transitions, new beginnings, loss, and problems with intimacy and connection. Most of the stories deal with attaining wisdom through learning from past mistakes. The protagonist often reflects back on what went wrong and then move ...more
Kristina Franken
In high school and college English majors are often made to read the short story. I am grateful for this fact. "Parker's Back" by O'Conner, Faulkner's "Barn Burnings" and Miss Emily's Rose" are examples of the vignette medium that powerfully moved me. But, as a whole, for the past 50 years, I have mainly read novels, selfishly demanding more; more experience.; more in-depth character study; more profound connection. Alethea Black, the author of "I Knew You Would Be Lovely" brought me back to the ...more
Nov 12, 2013 Sharla rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I haven't read many collections of short stories, but I truly found these to be a delightful read. It was refreshing to delve into a character and small storyline, focusing more on the nuances within each than wading through a long, paced novel. I found myself truly in awe of her use of language and description, too. Absolutely a writer I admire, now. This one is going on the bookshelf!

Some favorite lines:

"Best of all, it made him feel as if the unspoken in him were connecting with the unspoken
Sep 16, 2011 Erica rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, shortstories
I have several gift cards from a large, impersonal bookseller... one that is still in business, and does indeed have physical bookstores. Because there is no expiration date, I tend to save them for the proverbial rainy day -- when I could really use a pick-me-up about which I do not feel compelled to feel guilty. This was one such purchase, based purely on the wonderful title and the stunning comments on the back cover.

I'm usually not a big fan of short stories... although I am realizing that m
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short stories 1 4 Jul 02, 2013 03:42PM  
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Alethea Black was born in Boston and graduated from Harvard College in 1991. Her father was a mathematician, and for a long time she believed her name, the Greek word for truth, was his way of tipping his cap to the idea of absolutes. Then one day her mother overheard her and said, No, we got your name from a TV show. (Judd, for the Defense.)

Her forthcoming collection of short stories, I Knew You'
More about Alethea Black...

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“It's a fruitless task, explaining yourself," he said. He was enjoying confessing the truth for once. "Either people get you, or they don't. In fact, even when they get you, it's always…a disappointment.” 16 likes
“This was all chemistry ever was: two people's silent selves invisibly aligning while their noisy selves carried on, oblivious.” 10 likes
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