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Life Drawing

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  3,619 ratings  ·  742 reviews
From the author of If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This, Life Drawing is a fierce, honest and moving story of married life--its betrayals, intimacies, and secrets.

Augusta and Owen have taken the leap. Leaving the city and its troubling memories behind, they have moved to the country for a solitary life where they can devote their days to each other and their art, where Au
Published 2014 by Picador
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Anna I think the book doesn't exactly tell, and more importantly, that's exactly what Gus, the precision painter, has learned about life: it is not the…moreI think the book doesn't exactly tell, and more importantly, that's exactly what Gus, the precision painter, has learned about life: it is not the accurate details that matter, they wouldn't and couldn't have changed her relationship with her husband and the life they had together has plenty of room for all possible versions, because what they had transcends the quantifiable details.(less)
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3.68  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,619 ratings  ·  742 reviews

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Elyse Walters
Aug 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Update: $1.99 Kindle special today. I own the Hard copy! --But I plan to purchase this Kindle special price also. Its one of my favorite books --I'm also a big fan of Robin Black!

GREAT PRICE! -------------**Great Read**!!!


READ *Jan Ellison's* review'.... She wrote completely how I feel!!!!

In case you are lazy...
*Jan Ellison* says, "What a brilliant, beautiful, heartbreaking novel. It does what only the best books do--remind us that there is no experience as exquisite, as i
Iris P
Within the first lines of Robin Black's stunning debut novel, Life Drawing: A Novel, we learn that the narrator's husband, Owen, has died, although we are yet to learn the details of how this happened.

This is one of those novels that provide great suspense and engages the reader's curiosity from the beginning, but it's not so much about guessing the outcome as it is about how the story and how the characters develop.

I realize that there's a tendency to use lots of hyperbole when describing books
Diane S ☔
Jan 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a total surprise for me. One never knows what goes on in a marriage. We see people holding hands, couples that seem to have kept the spark alive for many years, yet we never knows what they have gone through, if they are as happy as they appear. I felt somewhat of a voyeur r3eading about the long term relationship portrayed in this book.

This is Gus's story, a story chronicling the long term relationship and eventual marriage of her and Owen. He is a writer suffering from writer's b
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
If this novel were to take out an ad in the personals, that ad might read "absolutely must love domestic fiction". If, like me, you tend to equate contemporary domestic fiction with chick lit, please don't make that mistake here. Life Drawing is serious literary fiction, plumbing the depths of a long-term relationship and exposing the consequences of impulsive behavior.

As with all contemplative fiction, the plot is simply a vehicle for exploring human folly and the commonalities we share as fla
Clearly, I must have read a different novel than my compatriots. I swear to you I didn’t do it on purpose. NetGalley must have sent me the wrong book via cyberspace; I downloaded it to my Kindle, and then remained entirely detached throughout most of this tale. Which as I write this puts me in the minority, and not just any minority, mind you, a minority that currently hovers at 6%. I pride myself on being different, but my sandbox must be on another planet, and I sure as shit hope it’s not Plut ...more
This is the story of Augusta (Gus), Owen, Alison, Nora, Bill, and Laine. The story is told by Gus; fragile, unassuming, vulnerable, imperfect Gus. She is an artist, a painter with modest accomplishments, married to Owen, a writer, also with modest accomplishments. This is the story of their life, past and present, the mistakes made, the burdens to bear, and how those mistakes and burdens haunt their lives...always. Reading this, I was embarrassed at times, feeling like a voyeur to someones priva ...more
Violet wells

This is the story of Augusta and Owen who have retreated into the country to pursue their artistic ambitions but whose life together is turned upside down by the arrival of a new neighbour. Problem number one: I was never convinced either of them had any artistic talent. Owen is such a dull feckless man whose dialogue is so wooden and banal that it was impossible to imagine him as an underappreciated cult writer. Augusta too comes across as a dilettante artist. You have the feeling both are bury
I feel like there are a million books out there that discuss marriage. There are a million slow character studies. And a million books about artists and their creative lives.

But this book is special. The premise is fairly simple - Augusta and Owen are a lifelong free-spirited artist couple (she a painter, he a writer) that only gave in to the institution of marriage after they were almost torn apart by the betrayal of one of them, and have moved out to a secluded country house to rebuild their r
Julie Christine
I need to create a new virtual bookshelf: Marriage--Not for the faint of heart.

Early into Life Drawing I thought, "I just don't read a lot of marriage plot books. I don't really like the domestic story." Then I took a glance through my past reads. Hah. Madame Bovary. Anna Karenina. The Portrait of a Lady. Jane Eyre. Rebecca. Little Women. The Scarlet Letter. Crossing to Safety. The Color Purple. A Death in the Family. The Grapes of Wrath. Brick Lane. The Corrections. Gone Girl. The Interestings.
May 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Life Drawing by Robin Black is one of those books that I could easily have passed by if not for a couple of Goodreads friend's reviews.

Slow to begin with and yet interesting enough to get my attention, this is one of those books that requires patience as its not full of drama or twists and turns and yet the atmosphere and the emotion of this story really had a huge impact on me. There was times I felt I was a fly on the wall in Gus and Owens home and while the characters are flawed and not part
Oct 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A high 4 stars. Robin Black's writing is fabulous. In Life Lessons, she layers nuances of feeling, emotion, and impressions beautifully in what feels like effortless prose. There were so many sentences and passages that I wanted to capture, savour and keep close in plain view. The story is simple. Gus -- aka Augusta -- and Owen retreat to a life of isolation in a house in the country. Gus is a painter and Owen is a writer. A new neighbour -- Alison -- moves in, putting an end to Gus and Owen's i ...more
“Oh, what a tangled web we weave…..when first we practice to deceive.” (Walter Scott)

Painter Gus (Augusta) and writer Owen are married and live in an isolated farmhouse in the country, in a state of self-exile as they clumsily work to recover an affair Gus had two years ago. Adding to the strain is the fact that Gus is “in the zone” creatively and Owen is struggling with a massive case of writer’s block. A British woman, Alison, moves into an adjoining property and Alison and Gus become friends,
Mar 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am going to copy what my Goodreads friend Joyce wrote about this novel because it's just perfect...

Joyce said ...
It's simple, but complicated. It's a mixture of feelings, love, betrayal, honesty, lies, what's said and what's not said, it's light, it's heavy. It's the universe of a marriage -- a Life Drawing. And it's a very good book.
Feb 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This novel about marriage and friendship and confidences and betrayal is a sock-knocker-offer. The portrait of a mature marriage is the best I’ve read since Crossing to Safety, the waxing and waning of tensions, so real. The spectacular first-person point of view (the wife) hits just right — not self pitying or self aggrandizing, just real and honest and true. And the gotta-know suspense of something revealed on the first page lasts the whole book long.

So few novels really nail mature middle-ag
Meet Owen, a struggling writer and Augusta (Gus), a creative painter. Their story begins with a betrayal of the worst sort and a bad, but honest decision to tell the truth causing gut-wrenching hurt, but then......forgiveness prevails.

Next, in steps the beautiful new neighbor Alison with an abusive x-husband and her Amazon-Like gorgeous, but meddling daughter Nora who causes disastrous complications that lead to the uncovering of more betrayals.....(view spoiler)

Jul 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A story of a husband and wife. A relationship tested and tried. A neighbour who moves in next door and befriends the wife. A friendship that develops and blossoms between the two women. A daughter who is drawn to the husband. A friendship that is betrayed. This is a very intimate read - between spouses and friends; trust that is broken and a fallout that is both a blessing and a curse. Black is poetic in her writing. 4 Stars.
switterbug (Betsey)
“…you cannot see a landscape you are in. But you do begin to see it when you step away.”

These sentences are spoken by the narrator, forty-seven year-old Augusta “Gus” Edelman, who is an artist. She and her husband, Owen, live out in rural Pennsylvania, in a rambling old 1918 farmhouse that they bought and renovated three years ago, leaving their social life in Philly behind for a bucolic setting that would also stir the creative juices. From the opening, we learn that Gus had an affair in 2005,
Larry H
Jul 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are certain books you would like to devour in one or two sittings because of the suspense or tension their plots generate—you just need to know what will happen next and how the plot will be resolved. Then there are other books you wish you could devour because the writing is so breathtaking and you are so engaged in what is happening with the characters. The two aren't always mutually exclusive, but for me, books often fall in one category or the other.

Robin Black's Life Drawing definitel
May 09, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I received this book through Goodreads First Reads.

Beautifully written - lovely, spare prose in a book that almost reads itself, Life Drawing takes on a well-worn topic and unfortunately brings nothing new, interesting or insightful to it. Ultimately disjointed and more than a bit implausible, it peters out, ending with an event some have called startling and devastating; but the method is too silly and contrived to have any real bite. Classic deus ex machina.

Life Drawing has been marketed as a
Apr 23, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
This debut novel depicts a painful slice of life that lays bare the damage done to a relationship by infidelity. Gus has been physically unfaithful and with the affair now over, she unburdens her conscience by admitting every detail of her indiscretion to her husband, Owen. Together, Gus and Owen forge ahead with their tattered relationship, but the accord is tenuous. The delicate balance is upset with the advent of a new neighbor, Alison Hemmings, who insinuates herself into the Edelman's life ...more
“There are often two conversations going on in a marriage. The one that you’re having and the one you’re not.” This rather chilling psychological study of a marriage between two artists left me feeling sobered. Black packs so much into a short novel: betrayal, creativity, jealousy, domestic violence, a parent with dementia, idealism, writer’s block, grief, religion, inspiration. The narrator, painter Augusta (Gus), is the one who has had an affair – a relatively rare choice of perspective: the r ...more
Jan 28, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I marked this as fiction, but it felt stultifyingly like some like of memoir. Oh dear. Black should get two stars for being able to get the thing done, but I don’t want to encourage her. There is a painter as the main character in this book. Augusta, or Gus as others call her, paints from life. She can’t really imagine someone or something onto her canvas. Gus is best at detail work. Her husband, Owen, is a writer with writer’s block. My guess is that Black knows more than she should about both ...more
Dale Harcombe
Rating and review to come. Serious thinking going on before writing it.
Two and a half stars.
Where to start with this novel which came to me from Scribe publications? I wanted to like it and read it fairly quickly. To begin with I was happy enough reading, even though I didn’t like Gus (Augusta) who is a painter or her husband Owen, who is a writer struggling to overcome writer's block. It is a novel about choices and consequences. That and the beautiful prose kept me reading. It deals with them
Jul 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
LOVED this book. What a heartbreaker!
Catherine McKenzie
This is one of my favourite reads in the last year or so. Well-written, suspenseful, fantastic. Highly recommend.
3.5 stars - It was really good.

This one was slow to build but the ending was well worth the wait. It's cynical and depressing, but an excellent reminder of how the "small" selfish things we do that hurt the ones we love can result in consequences more far-reaching than ever expected.

Favorite Quote: Life. It begins and begins and begins. An infinite number of times. It is all beginnings until the end comes. Sometimes we know it and sometimes we do not, b
Jan 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
four-ish-enjoyed it much more than I first thought!
The number of my non-review reviews continues to grow
PS Thank you, Kelly!!
Mar 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-audible
Wow! Review to follow...........
Life Drawing opens in present-day, but then rewinds a bit to slowly and thoroughly catch the reader up on all that transpired to lead up to that point. The writing is slow and calm, and for a while I forgot the main event that the story was leading back up to until I got there and then I was like, OMG! What just happened??? I didn't mind though; the writing is nothing short of beautiful. The descriptions of the various emotions cycling through this story are amazing and allow the reader to easil ...more
Mar 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Life and love, for the most part, are made up of messiness and contradiction. Yet in many stories that focus on intimacy and betrayal, the writer carefully draws between the lines. Robin Black is too good a writer to fall into that easy trap; her drawing of a life is imbued with subtle tones and hues.

The story is simply yet compellingly told. Augusta – known as Gus – and her husband, Owen, are creative types (she’s an artist, he’s a writer) who have gone into a form of self-isolation after Gus’s
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“There are often two conversations going on in a marriage. The one that you’re having and the one you’re not.” 9 likes
“By forty, is there anyone who hasn’t had to recognize that happiness, as understood by youth, is illusory? That the best one can hope for is an absence of too many tragedies and that the road through the inevitable grief be, if not smooth, then steady?” 8 likes
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