Jill's Reviews > If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This

If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This by Robin    Black
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Nov 15, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: 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 college-bound daughter, who was blinded as a child, to get her first guide dog. As he struggles to let her go so she can forge her own identity, he is also wrestling with a secret: his marriage to her mother is a sham and he intends to leave her after she departs. The story is beautifully written.

Or another story, Immortalizing John Parker, Clara Feinberg, a woman of a certain age, is mourning the loss of her romance. An artist, she is asked to paint the portrait of an elderly man by his wife, and she soon intuits that he is dying. She considers, “It won’t be the same picture, of course, not the one that so interested her. She’ll have to give up on the notion of depicting time itself – as a kindness.”

Or, perhaps my very favorite, Tableau Vivant. Jean, who is keeping the secret that she recently had a mild stroke from her husband of many years, is visited by her adult daughter, Brooke. She is forced to come to terms with her daughter’s secret – Brooke’s infidelity. The author writes, “As Brooke opened the door, Jean had the impulse to ask her if she loved him, as though hearing her daughter say it out loud would make it any clearer than it was. As though she herself needed it stated, made official somehow, to justify all that had gone on.”

For fans of the short story, and I am one of them, these are beautifully measured, lovingly composed, and intelligently offered to the reader. They are, all of them, little gems.
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Reading Progress

November 15, 2011 – Started Reading
November 15, 2011 – Shelved
November 17, 2011 – Finished Reading
March 23, 2015 – Shelved as: short-stories

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Tejaswini (new) - added it

Tejaswini I just read the first of the story. I didnt like it that much. May be it depended on my mood which wasn't quite great when I read it :) Your review makes me want to pick up the book asap. :) I'm also short stories lover. Do try Jacob M. Appel's Scouting for the Reaper. Very different premise and themes. I hope you like them.


Jill Thanks for the reco, Tejaswini! That's what I love about GR -- finding books that aren't even on my radar.


message 3: by Tejaswini (new) - added it

Tejaswini Anytime!! I got it through BookLikes as a giveaway by an author. May be you can find it there. I didn't have much expectations as it was for free ;) but I was quite impressed :)


Jill I notice that it's a FirstReads Giveaway on GR as well. Love short stories and this one DOES sound good.


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