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I Knew You'd Be Lovely

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  920 Ratings  ·  174 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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Iris P

I Knew You'd Be Lovely: Stories

I Knew You'd Be Lovely by Alethea Black

Well if I was going to end the year reading a collection of short stories I am glad this is the one I chose.

Since I finished I Knew You'd Be Lovely I've been pondering what was it that left me with such a sense of bliss, then it hit me: it was the uplifting tone that runs throughout these stories. I found that quality contagious and a welcomed breath of fresh air.

If there's is an recurring theme in this collection is that of the misfit character who facing a cris
Larry Hoffer
Dec 31, 2016 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
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
Tammy Parks
Dec 23, 2016 Tammy Parks rated it it was amazing
A beautifully crafted collection of short stories, mainly about people who are at a crossroads in their lives. These thirteen tales are about new beginnings and sad endings, sometimes both at the same time. Full of breathtaking passages and keen observations about the human condition, I absolutely loved this book.
"We're afraid of failure, and afraid of success. We are afraid of being loved, and afraid of being alone. The world is full of pain, and this is scary. And the world is crazy-beautiful,
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
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
Oct 07, 2016 Rose rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2016
Loved it
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
Angie Fehl
Dec 05, 2016 Angie Fehl rated it really liked it
As I always try to do when reviewing a short story collection, first thing's first -- the quick rundown of what all these stories contain:

1) That Of Which We Cannot Speak -- Bradley finds he's not really in the mood for attending a holiday party but goes anyway for his friend Oscar. Once at the party, he finds himself pulled into wonderfully unusual conversation with a woman who has been struck down by laryngitis and has only a board on which to communicate. * Fun fact picked up from this story:
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
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
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
Jul 05, 2016 Francesca rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
I have really been enjoying this set of short stories by Alethea Black, even "saving" a few for a moment in the week when I knew I would appreciate something that felt friendly and tender. Her writing is lucid, funny and compassionate, and she captures pivotal moments in her characters' lives when they make their defining choices.

My favorite story of all the bunch is "Double Blind", possibly because she captures so well the quirky mind I've found typical of scientists, but also because the stor
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
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
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.
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!
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.
A. S.
Oct 11, 2016 A. S. rated it it was amazing
It took me nearly five years to get around to reading and reviewing this collection of short stories from the First Reads program on Goodreads, but I've finally read this, and it was worth the wait.

I Knew You'd Be Lovely is a charming collection of short stories. Fizzy, effervescent, and cheerful while still providing hints of flavorful depth by examining deeper feelings of love, confusion, resentment, and loss, this book is like a mimosa for the brain. None of the stories interconnect, but I pr
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
Oct 07, 2016 Kathrin rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
That of which we cannot speak
The only way out is through
Good in a crisis
The thing itself
The laziest form of revelation
The summer before
Mollusk makes a comeback
I knew you'd be lovely
Proof of love
We've got a great future behind us
The far side of the moon
Someday is today

Some really good stories, but most just fine. Many of them oddly unresolved.
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 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
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
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
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short stories 1 4 Jul 02, 2013 03:42PM  
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  • Baby and Other Stories
  • What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us
  • Death Is Not an Option
  • Women and Other Animals: Stories
  • Alone With You
  • Something is Out There
  • Out of the Woods: Stories
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  • Once the Shore
  • Do Not Deny Me
  • Fitting Ends
  • Sweet Nothing: Stories
  • Boys and Girls Like You and Me: Stories
  • Chemistry and Other Stories
  • Other People We Married
  • We're in Trouble
  • The Book of Life
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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