Life Drawing

Customer Reviews

56 Ratings

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5 out of 5 stars
By RueRue on 01-07-17

Excellent !

A slow build, the narrative establishing the characters and touching on so many aspects of life - relationships, friendship, truth, betrayal, parenting, art, and loss. The prose is lovely, and Cassandra Campbell, one of my favorite narrators, reads this beautifully. An emotional story and a truely surprise ending (I definitely did not see it coming)

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Iris Pereyra on 07-06-15

Elegant prose, honest reflection on marriage

Within the first lines of Life Drawing, Robin Black's stunning debut novel, we learn that the narrator's husband, Owen, has died, although we still don't know the details of how this happened.

This is one of those novels that although provides great suspense and engages the reader's curiosity from the beginning, it's not so much about guessing the outcome as much as it is about how the story and its characters develop.

As Gus begins narrating their story, the couple's relationship have apparently survived an extra-marital affair in which she was the guilty party. Right after the affair ended, she decided to take the honest approach and confessed the whole thing to Owen.

Owen is a 51 year-old writer and Gus is a 47 year-old painter, they have accomplished a moderate level of success on their respective careers, good enough to provide a comfortable middle class life style.

Eventually and after receiving an unexpected inheritance, the couple retreats from their cosmopolitan life in the city and decide to buy a secluded 1918 farmhouse in Pennsylvania. On the surface it looks that Gus and Owen have found "safety in their solitude". The seclusion would theoretically serve a dual purpose, help them heal but also provide a idyllic, sheltered place where their creativity can flourish.

But there are certain dynamics that drive a relationship, some of them are openly acknowledged and recognized by the partners some of them are not. And underneath their seemingly perfect life, there are many pending issues that haven't been resolved and threaten their relationship.

Enter Alison Hemmings, a pretty and charming English divorcee who has just moved to the rental house nearby. After initially resisting Alison's intrusion into their very private lives, Gus and Alison become good friends and eventually Gus tells Alison the details of her affair with a married man.

By the time Nora, Alison's 20 year-old daughter comes to visit and develops a mayor infatuation for Owen, you have a strong feeling that something ominous is going to happen and in fact it all pretty much goes down hill from there. Nora's presence threatens to open old wounds between Owen and Gus and it ultimately exposes all the baggage their relationship has been painfully carrying.

Life Drawing is a wonderful character novel that explores the complexities of marriage, the consequences of adultery and betrayal, women's friendships and in general the nuances of human relationships. And yet with all these serious themes it's a truly delightful read.

Casandra Campbell's narration was wonderful. She seamlessly delivers the virtues and flaws of all these characters in a pitch perfect performance.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By Tonia Ayers on 09-03-14

Put me to sleep.

Any additional comments?

The narrator's voice was nice, but the story seemed to drone on and on with too much introspection from the main character. If found myself getting sleepy while listening to it in the car. I felt that it was well written; just not my cup of tea.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By EJJ on 05-05-18

Interesting Story but Bad Narration

This book would have been better with a different narrator. Cassandra Campbell only uses two emotions—overdone irony or a sort of dry ennui (plus a bad English accent) for three-quarters of the story. It became so tiresome that I sped up the narration in order to spend less time on her interpretation of the characters’ world-weariness. I will try to avoid this narrator in future.

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4 out of 5 stars
By PujaMohan on 02-23-16

Made me wonder for days.

Where does Life Drawing rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It's definitely among the top 20 books.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Augusta is definitely my favorite given the layers she has. The complexity of her character really hooked me in.

What about Cassandra Campbell’s performance did you like?

Cassandra has really captured the voices of the carious characters.

If you could take any character from Life Drawing out to dinner, who would it be and why?

It would be Owen. I'd really like to know what was he thinking when he decided to give his marriage a second chance and a third chance. I want to know if he was really brave or a coward to give Augusta so many chances.

Any additional comments?

Got me really thinking:

"That's what happens when one of you dies. The clock stops. The story ends. (You) begin to see patterns. Begin to understand. Maybe the patterns are only the ones that you impose. But the thing takes on a different shape. It takes on a shape. Or, as one of my teachers used to say, you cannot see the landscape you’re in."

"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."

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4 out of 5 stars
By mama rock on 09-27-15

well written but (spoiler alert) quite a downer

if you are looking for action and variety this is not the book for you...i felt that it ended on a very very dark note and i think if i had known i would not have chosen to read it...

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