An Illusion of Serenity

Life Drawing
“Life Drawing” by Robin Black is an intriguing and disquieting story of a couple struggling through the betrayals and intimacies that make up life.  Gus and Owen moved to the country to isolate themselves so Owen could write and Gus could paint.  As well, they were trying to distance themselves from the affair that Gus had and which continues to haunt them both. From the very start of the book we know that Owen has died and that is when Gus begins to relate the story of how it came to pass.

Their solitary existence is thrown off-balance when Allison, a recent divorcée, moves into the house next door.  Gus, who has been lonely with Owen closeted in his writing barn, quickly grows close to Allison.  When Allison’s daughter arrives on the scene the tensions mount and take on their own momentum.

This is a taut, suspenseful story that highlights how driven we all are by our emotions.  As the story builds so does the tension.  Black has created very real, vulnerable characters.  Some of them, like the daughter you’d like to give a good smack and others you can almost feel their pain.

I really enjoyed the novel and would recommend it.  One caveat – near the end of the novel the language gets very strong (appropriately) but if you are really “put off” by that you may want to think twice.

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