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

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  2,384 ratings  ·  411 reviews
Heralding the arrival of a stunning new voice in American fiction, Robin Black’s 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.

Written with maturity and insight, and in beautiful, clear-eyed prose, these stories plumb the depths of love, loss, and hope. A fa
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published March 30th 2010 by Random House
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Average rating 3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,384 ratings  ·  411 reviews

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Elyse Walters
Nov 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
Update...$1.99 kindle special today. I’m
a HUGE HUGE FAN of Karen Black....
I hope this book being on sale today is an indication that she has a new book coming out soon because I will definitely get line to buy it. I highly recommend this book and her novel.

5++++ Stars!

For ‘anyone’ who has ever said —hey 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 t
Dec 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
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 charac
Just a minute ago the world made sense. The ground under your feet was strong, concrete. But 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
Nov 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 ta
Larry H
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
Bonnie Brody
Nov 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Robin Black is a truly gifted writer. I loved this book of short stories as well as her novel, 'Life Drawing'.

The Stories in 'If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This' run the gamut in terms of subject matter. However, many of them deal with loss and the meaning of spoken and unspoken language.

I loved 'The Guide', the first story in the collection. Lila was blinded when she was six years old by an exploding aerosol can. Now she is ready to get a seeing eye dog and head off t
Dec 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.
May 19, 2013 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
Feb 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Julie Christine
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,
Apr 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 02, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Thing Two
Aug 18, 2010 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!
Chris Dietzel
Sep 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Overall, I enjoyed this collection of short stories. The first two in particular were excellent and worthy of a 5-star rating. A few felt unnecessarily complex for the short story format and didn't have a chance to have a fully developed morale but were still nice to read. And like with all short story collections, a couple just fell flat. In all, I would gladly read another set of stories by Black in the future.
Ann Douglas
Feb 27, 2011 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
Neelakshi Chakraborty
Sep 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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 lack
Jan 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Kristi Holmes Espineira
May 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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.
Leila T.
Apr 22, 2010 rated it did not like it
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 w
Isaac Miller
Jun 28, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Lisa Walker
May 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Girls Gone Reading
May 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 t
If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This is an interesting short story collection centered around themes of love and loss. It was good, but nothing spectacular. While the book was well-written, after reading so many stories written in the same style it became boring and drawl. At times I felt very disconnected from the characters and their feelings.

This book was not horrible, but I would only recommend it to people searching for short stories in particular and not a novel with characterizat
Jun 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Jane Ciabattari
Jun 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This first collection sparkles:
Want a piece of this sociopathic passive anger? Then arm yourself with a blunt Stanley knife and put on a REM dirge
Mar 01, 2010 rated it liked it
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 s
Apr 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Ruth Seeley
Dec 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
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Madison Mega-Mara...: #19 - If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This 1 2 Feb 29, 2016 06:04AM  
Goodreads Librari...: book 9 94 Mar 30, 2013 06:17AM  

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