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Extended Audio Sample If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This: Stories Audiobook, by Robin Black Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (971 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Robin Black Narrator: Mark Deakins, Kimberly Farr, Ann Marie Lee, Kirsten Potter Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2010 ISBN: 9780307736413
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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 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.


From the Hardcover edition. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Neither Black nor her characters have any use for ‘the fantasy of putting things to rights,’ or ‘the myth of uncomplicated lives.’ Yet there is redemption in finding the courage to love and the wisdom to see clearly. Sensitive insights conveyed in elegantly plain prose-an auspicious debut.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred)

  • “Evocative and lyrical, the characters’ introspections, while sometimes overwrought, are balanced by the sharp dialogue…Each story is carefully crafted, though Black is at her best when she resists the impulse toward tidiness.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “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.”

    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

  • “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

  • “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.”

    Philadelphia Inquirer

  • 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
  • The lives of the people in Black's stories unfold in unexpected ways. Her ability to convey the quiet havoc this causes is what makes her collection so good. Dallas Morning News
  • “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.”

    Cleveland Plain Dealer

  • “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.”

    Daily Beast

  • “The stories stay with you. They teach life lessons and change the way you view the world.”

    Irish Examiner

  • “The lives of the people in Black’s stories unfold in unexpected ways. Her ability to convey the quiet havoc this causes is what makes her collection so good.”

    Dallas Morning News
  • “Peopled with precocious yet believable children, perpetually perplexed men, and strong yet mostly silent women, Black’s stories quietly usher us through worlds of grief in a heartfelt yet dignified fashion…Savor this collection slowly and reflectively, then share with a friend.”

    Library Journal

  • An auspicious debut.
    Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
  • Poignant. . .well-written explorations of characters and situations sure to appeal to readers of Alice Munro and Mary Gaitskill. Booklist “Evocative and lyrical.
  • “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.com
  • 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. Times Literary Supplement
  • Eight years of writing and revision result in a high-caliber short story collection reminiscent of works by Atwood and Paley….[Black] illustrates the fragmented, disconnected nature of our civic lives with heart-stopping clarity….[Her] stories quietly usher us through worlds of grief in a heartfelt yet dignified fashion….Like fine chocolate or wine, a little Black goes a long way. Savor this collection slowly and reflectively, then share with a friend. Library Journal  
  • A wonderfully rich and rewarding story collection. . . for fans of Alice Munro or Lorrie Moore. Louisville Courier-Journal
  • Perceptive and emotional. San Francisco Book Review
  • Wise and involving. The Brooklyn Rail
  • Robin Black knows people. She knows us, she loves us, she takes pity on us and she offers us back to ourselves in clear-eyed and graceful prose. Her people are alive on these pages in all their glory--heartache and joy, infidelity and loyalty--and stay with us. Amy Bloom, author of Where the God of Love Hangs Out
  • This collection of short stories might more accurately be called a collection of short novels, such is their richness of characterization and plot. And the writing! It's the best I've seen in years, literally. I was immediately engaged with and entertained by every story here, without exception, and I was moved and enlightened by them, as well. Robin Black is an old soul who is a new addition to my short list of favorite authors. She is worthy of every bit of the high praise that is sure to come her way. Elizabeth Berg, author of The Last Time I Saw You
  • Robin Black’s men and women have been around the block—in fact, they’ve done laps around the block—and are suffused with a fierce and hard-won knowledge about life, about love and loss.  It’s wisdom that fills these characters.  Like bulletins from the front, these magnificent stories shine a light on what it means to be human. Dani Shapiro, author of Black and White
  • Robin Black’s stories are beautifully measured and composed in their engagements with emotional crises that are harrowingly intense, if not catastrophic.   Few first collections – few collections of any sort -- are as intelligent and as moving about both the durability of love and the implacability of loss, or about the ways in which contingency can undo and remake us; about, finally, the damage done and the repair work to come. Jim Shepard, author of Like You’d Understand, Anyway
  • These stories are full of surprises. They start with the familiar, drawing the reader in with the beauty and precision of their prose until, suddenly, in the middle of a suburban family drama, Italian bandits appear. But what makes If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This such an exquisite collection is the way Robin Black brings these same unpredictable elements into the emotional lives of her characters, creating that special kind of literary magic, where a reader experiences everything, right alongside, and it all feels new. Hannah Tinti, author of The Good Thief

  • A 2010 San Francisco Chronicle Best Book for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kowloon Tong | 2/17/2014

    " A fantastic book. The stories are impeccably crafted, deep, and intense. The language is pyrotechnic. These stories are for pondering and admiring and reading again. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Doneen | 2/14/2014

    " What drew me to this book was the title, and it remains my ONLY favorite thing about the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessie Kelly | 2/14/2014

    " Excellent but serious short stories "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Bettie | 1/30/2014

    " Want a piece of this sociopathic passive anger? Then arm yourself with a blunt Stanley knife and put on a REM dirge "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nancy | 1/21/2014

    " Loved this collection of short stories. Beautiful writing about people and emotions and life. I felt like all the stories were about someone that I might know. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carol Cronin | 1/19/2014

    " A simply fantastic collection of short stories, all of which read like very short novels. I was inspired by how much meaning could be conveyed in just a few pages. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Drew | 1/19/2014

    " Loved the title story, and the first half of the book. The remaining stories held less luster for me. Still, she has great command of character and mood. I hope she writes a full-length novel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dina | 1/15/2014

    " Won this book for participating in #Fridayreads on Twitter. :) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pam | 1/15/2014

    " Well written short stories, but very dark. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jennifer | 1/1/2014

    " Absolutely brilliant so far...as good as Alice Munro...short story genius. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Liz | 12/3/2013

    " Sad short stories, a little reminicent of Amy Bloom "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laurie | 11/28/2013

    " Unusually good short story collection. Clever and witty. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Todd Rongstad | 11/20/2013

    " Gets to it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Donniemarsh | 8/22/2013

    " This book made me angry because they are short stories. I wanted to live in each of the worlds a lot longer than permitted but suffice to say, the stories are no more and it's time to move on and celebrate the author Robin Black. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Madeline | 7/16/2013

    " I am just not a short story type of girl. Some if the stories were pretty good, while others felt like a waste of time. I never could get too invested in this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Aramis | 5/25/2013

    " Stories of loss that were definite downers. I loved them! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jennifer | 5/20/2013

    " Great stories, although all tragic to some degree. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Roulla Katiri | 2/27/2013

    " Short stories, but I found fairly hard to follow at times, I might have missed the deeper meaning though... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karen | 2/16/2013

    " I loved this collection of short stories. I think the title story was my favorite. Great characters and a nice variety of style throughout the book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Richard | 2/9/2013

    " This is a refreshing group of stories without gimmicks. They examine life's difficulties with humor, grace, and clear-eyed insight. Each one is a gem. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Julie Jones | 5/14/2012

    " Very well written, but many if the stories were so depressing that I got to a point where I dreaded starting the next one and had to read something lighter in between. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Julie M | 5/5/2012

    " I especially liked the title story. Reminiscent of Alice Munro. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jenn | 8/21/2011

    " I loved this! I thought "If I Loved You" was wonderful, and I thoroughly enjoyed "The Guide". I also liked the anticlimactic "Some Women Eat Tar." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dawn | 7/18/2011

    " excellent short stories "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Judith | 7/3/2011

    " A wonderful collection of short stories "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Julie | 5/20/2011

    " Stunning. I only read this because I was part of a panel interviewing the writer for CCPTV, but I fell completely in love with it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jamiewas | 5/5/2011

    " wonderful short story collection with very powerful writing "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Danielle | 4/18/2011

    " I think the writing is excellent. This is a book about loss. Death, divorce, and running away. Each story focuses on a time of some loss. The characters were real and interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jenni | 4/13/2011

    " Loved this series of short stories! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Katharine | 4/9/2011

    " I enjoyed reading this collection, and some of the narratives stuck with me, but I wanted these stories to be more formally daring. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 epstuk | 4/1/2011

    " I didn't really finsih the book, I only rad a couple of the stories, because I didn't think the writing was awesome. I like the concept though, which is all in the name.

    "

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About the Author
Author Robin Black

Robin Black’s stories and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including One Story, Colorado Review, Georgia Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Southern Review, and the anthology The Best Creative Nonfiction. The winner of many awards and a recipient of fellowships from the Leeway Foundation and the MacDowell Colony, Black is a graduate of the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers. She lives with her family in Philadelphia.

About the Narrators

Mark Deakins is an actor whose television appearances include Head Case, Star Trek: Voyager, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. His film credits include Intervention, Star Trek: Insurrection, and The Devil’s Advocate. He recently wrote, directed, and produced the short film The Smith Interviews.

Kimberly Farr is an actress and eight-time winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award for narration. She has appeared on Broadway and at the New York Shakespeare Festival, the Roundabout Theatre, Playwright’s Horizons, and the American Place. She created the role of “Eve” in Arthur Miller’s first and only musical, Up from Paradise, which was directed by the author. She appeared with Vanessa Redgrave in the Broadway production of The Lady from the Sea and has acted in regional theaters across the country, including a performance in the original production of The 1940’s Radio Hour at Washington, DC’s Arena Stage.

Ann Marie Lee is a seven-time winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award for narration. She is a Los Angeles–based actress with television credits that include ER, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and Nip/Tuck. Her stage performances for Broadway National Tours and regional theater include Peter Pan, As You Like It, Heartbreak House, and The Cherry Orchard.

Kirsten Potter, who graduated with highest honors from Boston University, has narrated numerous audiobooks and has performed for television and in theaters across the country. She has won several awards, including eleven AudioFile Earphones Awards, and been a three-time finalist for the prestigious Audie Award for best narration. Her work has been recognized by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts and by AudioFile magazine, among many others.