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Life Drawing by Robin Black
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Life Drawing

by Robin Black

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Life Drawing. Robin Black. 2014. Gus, the narrator and an artist, and her husband Owen, a writer move out of the city into a messy, comfortable farmhouse when an aunt leaves them a little money. They’re contented to be alone and work for the most part, although Owen is beset with writer’s block, but Gus is painting away and it is hard for Owen. Alison, a new divorcee, moves to the deserted house next door and gradually becomes involved in their life, to the dismay of Owen. Right away, you know Alison will bring trouble, however the trouble is Nora, Alison daughter who is immediately attracted to Owen. The book dragged in parts, but I enjoyed reading about the Gus’ paintings and how she developed them. A nice little readable romance that has enough suspense to get the plot going. ( )
  judithrs | Jan 30, 2017 |
Even though the opening narrative discloses how the book will end I was still drawn into this reflection on a marriage worn down by jealousy, betrayal and deceit. Augusta and Owen isolate themselves while they attempt to rebuild their life together. But, to quote the author, “Just the fact of being alive means allowing for possibilities that may be far from what you’d planned or even hoped.” This is shown to be true when the unexpected friendship of a new neighbor brings the virtually inescapable cycle of hurt and reprisal to an explosive conclusion.

I received this book for free through the Goodreads First Reads program.
( )
  wandaly | Jun 30, 2016 |
52 Books 52 Weeks 2014.27

Very Enjoyable read. ( )
  yvonne.sevignykaiser | Apr 2, 2016 |
A pretty good way to suck a reader straight into a book is to kick it off with one of the main characters dying. That is exactly what Black does in the very first line of this novel, and then we step back in time to find out what has led to this tragedy.

Gus and Owen are in their forties, and their relationship is deeply troubled for many reasons - not least the lingering resentment over an affair one of them had a few years before. There are secrets between the couple, and also their isolation - which they profess to enjoy - prevents them living a full life. While Owen struggles with writer's block, Gus embarks on a new project, which causes even more resentment between them.

Into this tension steps new neighbour Alison, who the couple befriend despite themselves. The relationship that develops between Alison and Gus is actually very touching, and Gus realises how much she has missed female company. However their close friendship is the eventual undoing of all the characters in the book.

There is much I enjoyed about this novel - it is really well written, the dialogue between the characters is authentic, and the unravelling of the characters' lives works well. However it is a slow novel, and is very introspective at times - the characters are self-absorbed and it is hard at times to like Gus or Owen. Although it is a short novel, at times it did ramble a bit and I was desperate for it to get back on track.

But the main thread of the story ultimately worked well, and keeps you guessing - and it was very interesting how very simple incidents could destroy people's lives.

Overall this is an enjoyable and well written novel, but is definitely not one for people who like lots of twists and an action-packed read! But if you like interesting characters and an insight into other people's lives, then I would recommend this

SPOILERS: Gus had previously had an affair with Bill and has secretly kept in touch with the daughter of the man she has the affair with. Meanwhile Alison's daughter turns up and falls in love with Owen. He knows this - and encourages it as it has helped him through his writer's block. Gus tells Alison of her affair - Alison then tells Nora. Nora then tells Owen that Gus had stayed in touch with Bill in the hope it would destroy their marriage. Gus confronts Nora who runs away and tells her father everything. He then comes and attacks - and kills - Owen. ( )
  AHouseOfBooks | Jan 27, 2016 |
See my review HERE ( )
  LacyLK | Nov 21, 2015 |
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Epigraph
The greatest Happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves. ------------------Victor Hugo
Our dead are never dead to s, until we have forgotten them. -----------George Eliot
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For my children, Elizabeth, David and Annie & For my mother, Barbara Aronstein Black
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In the days leading up to my husband Owen's death, he visited Alison's house every afternoon.
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"Augusta and Owen are living a quiet country life of companionship and artistic creation--she a painter, he a writer--until Alison, a beautiful British woman, moves in to the previously unoccupied cottage next door. As Gus and Owen's life becomes intertwined with Alison's, past betrayals, losses, and new desires come to a head"--… (more)

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