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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: Stories

by Robin Black

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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I found these short stories to be excellent, almost without exception. The potential problems I have with short stories are that they don't have enough depth of characters or that there isn't enough plot to be satisfying. But these stories had plenty of both these elements. I've never read any of Robin Black before, and I was looking in my local library for her novel, "Life Drawing", when I found this volume and thought it might be a good way to see if I like her style. I'm certainly going back to the library now to look for her other work. ( )
  oldblack | Aug 18, 2014 |
If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This by Robin Black is a debut collection of ten short stories. The central theme is transition and coping.

The titular story is a prime example of how these stories unfold. Each scene begins with the phrase, "If I loved you, I would tell you this—" as she silently rants about her neighbor. He, unaware of her health problems or her son's problems, builds a tall fence around his property. The fence limits the space in her drive way, making it more difficult to get to her home. That apparently small inconvenience spirals out to many more problems and more bottled up anger.

The simplest solution — one not tried by the main character — would be to talk politely with the neighbor. She, though, is the silent martyr type. She keeps quiet to keep the drama and emotional tension high.

The other stories pull similar tricks. After a couple of them, you'll start to see the patterns involved in writing the stories. At that point, you will either like the collection, or you won't. I found the emotional string pulling tedious at the halfway point. ( )
  pussreboots | Jun 24, 2013 |
I love it when I find a collection of short stories like this. Every one of them felt so real. The characters were well drawn, the details of their lives doled out at just the right pace. There was one story in particular that I didn't want to end. I really wanted to find out what happened next. ( )
  jules72653 | May 30, 2013 |
And I'm done with literary fiction. Blame it on me, some deficiency makes me incapable of being moved or impressed by your prose. I also don't appreciate the false advertising. These stories weren't about "keen observations of the human condition" as the blurbs would lead you to believe. They were about dying spouses (mostly cancer), dead brothers, dead babies...shall I go on?
When I took a creative writing (read no genre, just literary fiction please) workshop my teacher said that protagonist should undergo some type of change in these stories, the subtler the better. Maybe that's why Black is getting mountains of praise. The stories are masterfully written, no doubt. But what happens (someone dies)? What changes(protag feels bad)?
I also feel there's a detachment, a resentment of the writer toward her characters. I didn't really care about any of the characters I met.
Maddening, the whole thing was maddening. More annoyed at myself that I didn't abandon this the first time I tried. But noooo...everyone loved this book, even Oprah. ( )
  akmargie | Apr 4, 2013 |
I picked up this collection because I had loved "Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It" and heard that this was in a similar vein. It was, but I found it lacking. The stories were beautifully told. The characters were well-defined but didn't develop even though the events in the stories should have led them too. It left me with a bleak outlook of the human condition which may have been the author's intent.

I would have found most of these stories, had I read each individually as a standalone piece, wonderful. However, taken together, the overarching sadness and tragedy in so many different ways and from so many different perspectives wore me down. ( )
2 vote Kara | Feb 5, 2012 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robin Blackprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Deakins, MarkNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Farr, KimberlyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, Ann MarieNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Potter, KirstenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Ten short stories explore human relationships, moments of change, and unspoken truths.

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Robin Black is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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