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

by
3.73  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,868 Ratings  ·  349 Reviews
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 p
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Paperback, 336 pages
Published April 26th 2011 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published March 30th 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Elyse
Dec 14, 2014 Elyse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5++++ Stars!

For 'anyone' who has ever said --they are not fans of short stories -- I dare you to spit those words out after reading ROBIN BLACK!

I think I've just discovered a new TOP FAVORITE WRITER. I'll read ANYTHING this woman writes! I'll read 'this' book again!

In my experience, Robin Black is a MASTER of the EMOTIONALLY ACCURATE and SIGNIFICANT!!! She writes with a vulnerability that feels free from fear....powerful, with barriers broken. The author may have opened things in me that have
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Dianne
Feb 06, 2015 Dianne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-of-2015
Unless I am reading an author who is a MASTER of the short story (Alice Munro, Jhumpa Lahiri, Hilary Mantel), I am often left feeling like I have had a snack instead of the meal I really craved. I'm so hungry for more - I want to know more about these people, their stories, what happens next.

I picked this up because I loved Robin Black's Life Drawing. These short stories are pretty good - some better than others - but all with her lovely writing and uncanny ability to create relatable characters
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Kelly
Just a minute ago the world made sense. The ground under your feet was strong, concrete. But now...now your heart is racing, the noise that just a moment ago existed now sucked up into a vacuum of complete silence, and that cold sweat that you'd always heard about is now pooling at the back of your neck. But all you can do is stand there, protected by an invisible bubble that was kind enough to shut out the world because it knows, even if you don't, that you and everything you know is about to c ...more
Kats
May 19, 2013 Kats rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ann Kingman & other lovers of short stories
Another extremely cold and rainy day in Switzerland, so please excuse the ridiculously long review of this wonderful collection of short stories. It's not even a review, but a quick summary of each story (relatively spoiler free, I hope), and my favourite quotes from it. I feel compelled to do it as I may otherwise forget them too quickly (not that they're not memorable!) and be left without much to refer back to at my book club meeting next week.

These stories are so carefully crafted, and I wa
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Larry Hoffer
What a beautifully moving book this was. Robin Black's short story collection examined the tenuous connections of relationships—between parent and child, lovers, friends, siblings, even strangers. Some of the stories (one in particular) made me laugh out loud, some made me cry, but all made me think and have definitely touched my heart. Some of the most memorable stories included the opening story, "The Guide," which followed a father reluctantly watching his blind daughter get ready to head off ...more
Jill
Mar 24, 2015 Jill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Decades ago, Ernest Hemingway said that the most important thing was to “write what’s true.” By that criterion, Robin Black’s collection of 10 short stories is an unqualified success. All of them are quite good and some of them are downright exceptional. She writes about the truest things in life – fragility, loss, and the secrets we keep from each other.

Her characters could walk off the pages – that’s how authentic they are. Take Jack Snyder in the opening story, The Guide. He is taking his col
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Julie
Three and a Half Stars

A blind daughter whose perception is far keener than her father realizes; a wife who hides the evidence of a mild stroke behind a turquoise scarf; the new girl at school who seems to float above everyone’s low opinion of her, like a faerie in white tights and black-patent Mary Janes; a painter trying to capture what little life remains in a fading man . . . Robin Black presents a tableau of sensitive characters existing in perhaps mundane circumstances—marriage, parenthood,
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Abigail
Apr 07, 2011 Abigail rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just grabbed this book off a library shelf because the cover and title were intriguing. I read the first story and thought "Hmmm, pretty good. Wonder how the others will compare." The next was also great. And the next. And the next. All ten of them were incredible pieces of fiction. I have never come across such well developed and deeply feeling characters in short stories. I have never read a collection of short stories that I simply couldn't put down. In fact, I am often drawn to short stori ...more
Thing Two
Aug 11, 2012 Thing Two rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Thing Two by: Warren Wilson
This short story collection was excellent! I read it in twenty-four hours - waking up early to finish the last story. The author writes from multiple points of view - man/woman old/young. She deals with a variety of difficult situations - with humor, and grace, and heart. I'd recommend this to anyone who enjoys a well written short story - there are 10 here. I can't wait to see more from Robin Black!
Urmila
Jul 27, 2011 Urmila rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I finally finished this (obviously I had very little incentive to continue to pick up a book that just made me feel bad). That said, Black is a very good writer, and she creates interesting characters. And each story, by itself, is well-written and (usually) engrossing. Read as a collection, however, these "stories" constitute cheap, manipulative, and lazy storytelling. People suffer. Then they suffer more. Then they may, or may not, learn something from that suffering. Or perhaps they're not se ...more
Neelakshi Chakraborty
I just loved this very humane, moving, achingly bittersweet collection of short stories - they transported me almost to another world with the texture of writing.Stories about fathers and mothers and their daughters, artists in love and mourning, and a solo traveler show all mingle and yet stand apart in a rare abandon.
I would suggest you read these when in a devastatingly tender frame of mind. I did, and could succumb to the magic even more so than if I had been morose, lazy, or just lackadaisi
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Ann Douglas
Mar 03, 2011 Ann Douglas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: short story lovers, people who love stories about relationships
Dear Robin Black:

I hope you are writing another short story collection. I don't want to pressure you or anything, but I finished IF I LOVED YOU last night, and I'm ready to dive into your next book right now. It was that good.

Each story in your collection is beautifully crafted and has something profound to say about relationships.

Thank you for giving the world this book.

A fan
Alan
Jan 28, 2015 Alan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
There was a point when I thought I’ll not go on, but like Beckett decided I must go on. That wasn’t because of the quality of the stories – throughout the writing is excellent, firmly in the (as it says on the cover of my copy) Munro-Bloom-Moore firmament and as good – but because every story revolved around illness and/or death/old age. There are strokes, blindness, learning difficulties (still called mental retardation in America), often reflecting emotional shortcomings. Plus there was often ...more
Randy
Jan 16, 2012 Randy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this collection of stories. I found myself eking them out so I could continue to look forward to reading another one.

I am not a short story fan, but Robin Black's collection captured me and will, I am certain, continue to capture me when I re-read them. Each one is like a miniature novels. I often find short stories bloodless; Black's are filled with juice and recognition. Characters jump off the page and into your head (and heart.) The writing is translucent--astounding without being sh
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Kristi
May 29, 2010 Kristi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, kindle
This is the best book of short stories I've read in a very long time. Some of them are absolutely stunning. Beautifully written throughout.
Isaac Miller
This review is going to be somewhat awkward. The stories in this book are all excellently written and well told. If I saw any one of the 10 stories in this collection published in The New Yorker I'd think they'd made a great choice (especially after the one they published this week). But when they're all put together they make something much less than the sum of its parts.

Mrs. Black spent the last 8 years going to various workshops and getting an MFA while working on her stories, and that dedica
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Lisa Walker
May 07, 2012 Lisa Walker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If I Loved You I Would Tell You This is American author, Robin Black’s, first book. This collection of ten short stories delves deep into the minefield of human relationships.
One of the things I found quite lovely about this book was the varied female characters. The first story, The Guide, features a sharp-talking blind girl who knows more about her parents’ marriage than they think. In If I Loved You, the story which gives its name to the collection, a woman tries to get inside the head of h
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Girls Gone Reading
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
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Leila T.
Apr 29, 2010 Leila T. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I've just realised that I'm mainly doing written reviews of the books I don't like so much. It's probably because I feel like I need to explain myself, and also probably because the books that I really like I just feel all mentally cozed up with; I just like the feelings I get from them and all that sentimental crap doesn't translate well in a review.

In any case: "If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This" is not one of my favourites. It's probably a one-and-a-half stars, because there were tiny ele
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Sonya
Jun 28, 2010 Sonya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, best-of-2010
Each story in this collection has its own loss, its own secret heart. They do exactly what short stories should, distill a moment in time in the life of a character, present a situation in its crisis or its quiet contemplation. My favorite story turned out to be the one I thought I wouldn't like, about a woman who's had a stroke, who must contend with the choices of her forty-year-old daughter. While I was reading many of these Black stories, I wondered how she got into my head and knew what I'v ...more
Karen
Aug 03, 2015 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 stars for the writing... I do love her writing especially in the novel Life Drawing... these short stories left me wanting more... no endings to them.. I guess I'm just not a fan of short stories.
Jane Ciabattari
Jun 10, 2010 Jane Ciabattari rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This first collection sparkles:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-an...
Shannon
Jun 03, 2015 Shannon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, short-stories
I bought this book from the Borders going out of business sale in 2011. I had pretty much forgotten about it until I did a search for a different book and found this one on a list of 5 Must-Read Short-Story Collections. So I got right to it.

This book gets a different kind of 4 star rating. Not because it's so good but because it's so spot on. The book is not upbeat. It's not exciting. It doesn't really have cliff hangers. It feels more like an exposé. It's about people, families, friends, and t
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Lauren
Jan 10, 2011 Lauren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is excellent. In the past I've often been left dissatisfied by short stories, as if their authors had tried to tell too big a story in too small a frame. Robin Black does the opposite -- she shows the reader brief moments and vignettes in the lives of her characters. This way, instead of focusing on the literary process of character development or trying to invent believable people, she is able to tell the stories of men and women who seem to already exist and focus on what's really im ...more
Wendy
Got this free through First Reads!

In general I like short story collections. I like reading a little bit at a time, skipping around, having the chance to peek into lots of different characters' lives. Also, if I'm not into one story, it doesn't have to ruin the whole book for me, as I may just like the next.

If I Loved You, I would Tell You This had those things I like about short story collections going for it, and the bonus of underlying themes tying the stories together. I liked some of the s
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Debi
If you're looking for a set of stories with a specific happy ending, this is not the book for you. Rather, it is a collection of life stories without clear cut endings happy or otherwise. Most of the stories spoke to the quickness and fragility of life and more than a few to the disappointments that weren't foreseen. The stories just felt real. Every time I felt like I had a favorite story, another one would change my mind. That said I would have to go with the story that is the title of the boo ...more
Angela
Feb 23, 2015 Angela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
A delightful collection of short stories touching on love, grief, letting go, and moving onward. I was particularly drawn to the title story in which an entitled neighbor gets a survey to move the property lines even though the new lines of demarcation ruin the narrator's life, which is complicated with a cancer diagnosis and an adult disabled son and a husband worn thin carrying for everything. The small, seemingly insignificant ways in which our actions impact others rang true. I am hoping Bla ...more
Ruth Seeley
Dec 04, 2010 Ruth Seeley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have not been this excited about a writer since I first encountered Ann Beattie, Amy Hempel, and Barbara Gowdy. These stories are like the rarest, most highly polished, and precious of gems from an extremely mature writer. I'm not surprised the 10 stories in the collection took eight years to write. While all the stories deal with loss and the grieving process in one form or another, there is nothing bleak about them. They are, rather, intricately layered pleas for kindness, empathy and a form ...more
Bev
Jul 12, 2010 Bev rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
I've said repeatedly that I am not a fan of short stories, but I have recently read three collections that have been wonderful (the other two were by Jhumpa Lahiri), so it's probably time to revise that statement! Each story in this book is a mini-masterpiece, extremely well-crafted, powerfully subtle and emotionally riveting. Robin Black says it took her eight years to perfect these stories, and that is evident--it is clear that she put time and care into each sentence. The only reason I did no ...more
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