Life Drawing

Life Drawing

A Novel

Book - 2015
Average Rating:
Rate this:

"Taut, elegant . . . Black is a writer of great wisdom."--Claire Messud, The Guardian (UK)

Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader's Circle for author chats and more.

Augusta Edelman--Gus to her friends--is a painter, a wife, and not always the best judge of her own choices--one of them bad enough that she and her husband, Owen, have fled their longtime city home and its reminders of troubling events. Now, three years into their secluded country life, Gus works daily on the marriage she nearly lost, discovers new inspiration for her art, and contemplates the mysteries of a childhood tragedy. But this quiet, healing rhythm is forever shattered one hot July day when a stranger moves into the abandoned house next door and crosses more boundaries than just those between their lands. A fierce, honest, and moving portrait of a woman grappling with her fate, Life Drawing is a debut novel as beautiful and unsparing as the human heart.

Praise for Life Drawing

"The page-turning suspense of Robin Black's novel comes from her beautiful, honest portrait of a marriage, of a life. . . . A novel of consequence, and a stunning one." --San Francisco Chronicle

"Gripping . . . the power of this story is how it illuminates, in utterly compelling detail, the complex give-and-take of a couple trying to save their marriage." -- O: The Oprah Magazine

"Truly brilliant . . . [Black] is that rare writer whose gift for prose is matched by her mastery of the other elements that make a great novel. . . . [Her] psychological prowess and incisive observations lend an edge even to seemingly straightforward scenes." --Chicago Tribune

"Races to its resolution . . . Black's writing is clear and direct [with] observations about the way people relate that resonate well after the book is closed." --The New York Times Book Review
Publisher: New York : Random House, 2015.
Edition: Random House trade paperback edition.
Copyright Date: ♭2014
ISBN: 9780812980677
Characteristics: 259 pages


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

JCLCherylMY May 27, 2017

Life Drawing, the author's debut, is a study on marriage, forgiveness and choices. "There are often two conversations going on in a marriage. The one that you're having and the one you're not. Sometimes you don't even know when that second, silent one has begun." Owen, a writer, and his wife, Gus, an artist, live an isolated, married life in the country. They are recovering from Gus's indiscretion with a married man and seem to be on the mend, although unspoken resentments simmer. Their quiet, ordered lives are disrupted when Alison moves in next door. While Gus and Alison grow close and share confidences, Owen is aloof. That is until Alison's daughter, Nora, comes for a visit and becomes infatuated with him with tragic results. Black does a nice job of interweaving Gus's introspection of her past and present life while she examines and is stymied by her artistic process.

Jun 08, 2016

The merits of this book lie solely in the quality of the writing and the author's ability to build suspense. The people are ordinary and introspective, the situation is not unusual, and the author does not have much insight to offer. The description of creating art is facile.

Sep 23, 2014

a novella with characters in the style of John Irving, flawed and very human

ChristchurchLib Aug 18, 2014

"Gus, a painter, and her husband Owen, a writer, have been living contentedly in semi-seclusion in rural Pennsylvania for several years now. The arrival of a new neighbour, however, changes their dynamics as Gus realizes she's lonely and frustrated with Owen -- and begins to confide in her new friend. Their marriage, not as stable as Gus had thought, is further threatened when the neighbour's daughter visits and becomes infatuated with Owen. Tension rises throughout this "irresistibly readable" (Publishers Weekly) debut novel, which offers multi-dimensional characters and a discerning depiction of long-standing relationships." Fiction A to Z August 2014 newsletter

Aug 16, 2014

This novel explores the long term effects of infidelity in a marriage. It deals with betrayal, love, forgiveness and all the other complicated emotions involved in holding a marriage together. This book is low on action but offers plenty of introspection.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at OPL

To Top