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Psst! I Will Tell You This

August 4, 2011

The next book club selection is an exciting one and the first ever short story collection. For September, we’re reading If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This, a group of stories I dare you not to love.

Robin Black’s debut collection of short stories is flawless and beautifully written. She composed these stories over a decade of child-rearing and honing her writing craft, and her meticulousness shows. The characters and their situations will stay with you long after you’ve put the book down. In “The Guide,” a father struggles to cope with his daughter’s blindness. In “Harriet Elliott,” a young girl comes to terms with her parents’ broken relationship. In “Immortalizing John Parker,” an artist realizes there is more to her subject than she originally thought.

Throughout these stories, Black plunges us into the dark places of the human soul, but she does it with a careful, gentle hand. No wonder the first story is called “The Guide”—with each new character, we are directed toward a deeper understanding of human behavior.

So whether I love you or not, I will tell you that this month’s Maladjusted Book Club pick cannot be missed.

And while Black has said in previous interviews about this collection: “A lot of times I wish I could put a label on them that says, ‘Read one a week.’ I didn’t write them to be read like a novel.” I hope she’ll forgive us if we go a little faster. They’re hard to resist.

See why Black’s collection has been shortlisted for the 2010 Frank O’Connor short story prize and was an Oprah magazine summer reading pick. Come back to discuss the book on Monday, September 12th.

And join me for the Maladjusted Book Club’s first-ever Q&A with Robin Black two Thursdays from now, on August 18th.

Tell me this: you’re in. Right?

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