Written with maturity and insight, and in beautiful, clear-eyed prose, these stories plumb the depths of love, loss, and hope. A father struggles to forge an independent identity as his blind daughter prepares for college. A mother comes to terms with her adult daughter’s infidelity, even as she keeps a disturbing secret of her own. An artist mourns the end of a romance while painting a dying man’s portrait. An accident on a trip to Italy and an unexpected connection with a stranger cause a woman to question her lifelong assumptions about herself.
Brilliant, hopeful, and fearlessly honest, If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This illuminates the truths of human relationships, truths we come to recognize in these characters and in ourselves.
“I want to shout about how just when you thought no one could write a story with any tinge of freshness let alone originality about childhood. . . about marriage . . . about old age, Black has done it. . . . Black delivers real emotion, the kind that gives you pause. . . . Will Robin Black win [the Pen/Hemingway Prize] for this book? If I were a judge, she would.”—Alan Cheuse, Chicago Tribune
“Pitch-perfect . . . so deft, so understated, and so compelling that you have to slow down to savor each vignette. . . . Fans of Mary Gaitskill, Amy Bloom, and Miranda July will feel like they’ve found gold in a river when they discover Robin Black. . . . [A] writer to watch.”—O, The Oprah Magazine
“Each story reads like a mini-novel . . . worlds are contained in a single page. And the writing . . . oh, the writing . . . There’s no narrative cohesion, no point. Rather, If I Loved You is a ‘Fantastic Voyage’ into the bloodstream of the human species. . . . Maybe it’s midlife maturity, maybe it’s raw talent, but If I Loved You leaves you longing for more."—San Francisco Chronicle
“Incisive . . . peopled with characters so fully imagined you’ll feel they’re in the room.”—People
"Exquisitely distilled tales of loss and reckoning . . . [Black] evokes a Sparkian blend of skepticism and grace."—Vogue
“Robin Black stakes out some of the emotional territory occupied by Alice Munro, Amy Bloom and Lorrie Moore. . . . A nuanced portrait of the heart that repays careful reading.”—Financial Times
“Considered and rewarding . . . Black writes with grace and simplicity and there is a quiet strength in her sentences.”—The Times Literary Supplement
“Powerful and touching . . . sparkling with poetic vision . . . In every story, [Black] creates wonderful little images, sees symbols, double meanings, poetry everywhere. . . . Black has an enviable ability to create wholly believable characters, people you'd swear you know, and by showing them in passage through life's transitions, she reveals the source of their longings. . . . A fine first collection.”—Philadelphia Inquirer
“Robin Black's lovely debut collects 10 stories written over eight years, each demonstrating the rewards of a long gestation—contemplative pacing and a polished craft. . . . . Should Alice Munro ever fulfill her threat of retirement, readers can turn to Black for solace. Grade: A."—Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Nuanced, perfectly pitched and striking . . . [Black’s stories] swell with feeling . . . leaving us wanting more as we read each story every more slowly as the finale approaches.”—The Australian
“Black proves herself to be a keen observer of the human condition as she shows how her characters navigate their inner worlds. . . Sympathetic but never saccharine.”—The Daily Beast
“Each story . . . in this collection is a mini work of art. . . The stories stay with you. They teach life lessons and change the way you view the world.”—Irish Examiner