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I Knew You'd Be Lovely Paperback – July 5, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
“[A] sly and emotionally complex debut collection…[Black’s] unflinching candor allows her to mine extraordinary revelations.” –Boston Globe
“Alethea Black's characters are witty […] without turning caustic, and remain mostly cheerful about their uncertain futures—just the kind of people with whom we want to connect.” — Corrie Pikul, Oprah.com
“This debut reads like a dream, with nary a false note…a well-balanced collection filled with low-key charm and notable talent.” – Kirkus Reviews
“A sense of vulnerable restlessness is betrayed by the otherwise pragmatic characters of Black’s strong debut collection.” – Publishers Weekly
“I Knew You’d Be Lovely is an impressive offering, from a strong new voice, of stories about life’s desperation.” – Joseph Arellano, New York Journal of Books
“Alethea Black is downright brilliant at capturing the restless striving for a self that we all are feeling in this parlous and unsettling age. I Knew You’d Be Lovely is a splendidly resonant debut by an important young writer.” – Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize winning author of A Good Scent From a Strange Mountain
“ With humor, honesty and wary hope, Alethea Black’s stories capture the pain and power of loving fully—and celebrate life’s small astonishments amid our shared human search for the divine. I KNEW YOU’D BE LOVELY is thoughtful, entertaining and, ultimately, powerful.” – Daphne Kalotay, author of Russian Winter
"When I came to the end I wanted to read the next page - or write it, but then I realized that there was no more to be said; as in the Navajo prayer, 'In beauty it is finished.'"--N. Scott Momaday, Pulitzer Prize winning author of House Made of Dawn
“Alethea Black writes with a deceptively light touch, yet her work packs a serious punch...There’s a spiritual hunger in her stories reminiscent of Flannery O’Connor, combined with a voice that is all her own.” – Sharon Pomerantz, author of Rich Boy
“Reading Alethea Black’s seemingly effortless prose is like slipping into water – the eerily clear kind, that shows you more than you may want to see.” – Glen Hirshberg, winner of the 2008 Shirley Jackson Award
“Alethea Black can drop you into a dream with a single sentence, then convince you it’s real. Her characters’ best hopes and worst fears usually come to pass, often in fabulous ways, but their adventures feel inevitable and true—not only because Ms. Black richly imagines her people, but because she loves them. I Knew You’d Be Lovely is a lovely debut, with masterful prose and inspired invention on every page.”
—Ralph Lombreglia, author of Men Under Water
"There's a touch of Lorrie Moore in Alethea Black's stories, but the voice is all her own. Black writes about love, yes, but she also writes about solitude--its travails and its pleasures--with a winning combination of insight and charm. I Knew You'd Be Lovely is a terrific debut." – Joshua Henkin, author of Matrimony
“Black’s is a rich, accomplished and startlingly good literary presence…the 13 stories collected here are well-crafted and engaging. Black’s observations on life, love and the human condition are keen and welcome.” –Monica Stark, januarymagazine.blogspot.com
“The title of Black’s collection reflects the optimism buoying these 13 stories…[Black’s] nimble wit carries her through.” – Vikas Turakhia, Cleveland Plain Dealer
Top Customer Reviews
Of course I had my favorites...."Mollusks Make A Comeback." Katie, a woman afraid to try for more spoke solemnly through humor and jarred an "aha moment" so profound in me I am still shaking. What more can you demand of a story? Other favorites...."Someday is Today," "The Summer Before" and "Good In A Crisis" All thirteen invoked emotions and understanding I didn't know myself capable of. What more can be asked of a well crafted tale?
Alethea Black talent lies in her balance, intuitiveness, tenderness, sarcastic wit, shock value, humor and compassion. How could I ask anything more from a genius wordsmith?
Read at your own risk knowing par writing will most probably not be enough for you again. When you read extraordinary it is hard to lower that bar back down.
Thanks, Ms. Black, for insights and inspirations into your stories conceptions and birth.
In homage to "We've Got a Great Future Behind" us I simply sing, "it's close enough to perfect for me."
Each story in this collection is a tiny world all its own. They are amazingly, blissfully complete and, while they say to leave them wanting more at the end of short stories, they are also very satisfying. There is no one story so like another that it seems like a retread.
Here's the list of the stories published in this collection:
That of Which We Cannot Speak
The Only Way Out is Through
Good in a Crisis
The Thing Itself
The Laziest Form of Revelation
The Summer Before
Mollusk Makes a Comeback
I Knew You'd be Lovely
Proof of Love
We've Got a Great Future Behind Us
The Far Side of the Moon
Someday is Today
The stories are memorable, heartbreaking, stimulating, exciting, humorous, honest, and thought provoking - more frequently all of these within a single story.
Frankly, I'm hard-pressed to pick a favorite (a great problem to have), but "The Summer Before" gave me my strongest reaction: when the youngest sister was left on the dock, it made me relive the feeling of abandonment you can only get from older siblings. Alethea Black was able to do all that for me from the perspective of one of the older sisters and without sentimentality.
I think that shows true talent, and there are more examples of her powerful abilities on practically every page of this book. This is real literature.
I received this book at no cost as a member of the Vine Program.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A delightful collection of little gems, each one different, but each perfectly polished. I will remember many of the characters and stories for a long time. Read morePublished 28 days ago by Suzanne
"I Knew You'd be Lovely" is a collection of beautifully written stories about characters making pivotal decisions in their lives. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Robert Liao
I have really been enjoying this set of short stories by Alethea Black, even "saving" a few for a moment in the week when I knew I would appreciate something that felt... Read morePublished 1 month ago by F. P. Berger
From the moment I started reading (in the aisle of a bookstore in nyc), I felt connected to the voice. Right away, it rang true. Read morePublished 1 month ago by PAOLA BUENDIA
I loved each story. I am not normally a reader of short stories but it was both bittersweet and fabulous coming to the end of each story. Read morePublished 1 month ago by A. Katz
This collection reminded me how wonderful and immersive a well-written short story can be. I experienced the awe and surprise I felt when I first read Flannery O'Conner's stories. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Ms. Black is a master at the craft of the short story, this collection shows her talents well.
I am not normally a short story reader, but was told that I should try... Read more
The title is so apt for these stories -- they are just lovely. Beautifully written, resonant, insightful, and full of hope. I heartily recommend!Published 1 month ago by AvidReader