Book Review – Life Drawing by Robin Black

Life DrawingLife Drawing by Robin Black

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Life Drawing is the story of Gus and Owen, a couple still recovering from Gus’s infidelity, and Alison, the woman who moves in next door. When Alison’s daughter arrives, things get far more complicated.

Gus is an artist struggling to complete a series of paintings on long dead soldiers superimposed into modern settings. Owen is a writer who can’t seem to get anything written. The theme of disconnection with time and place runs through the novel and adds depth to the relationships between Gus and Owen, Gus and Alison, and Gus and her aging father. Some of the most poignant moments in the novel take place between Gus and her father, whom is quickly losing touch with his surroundings due to Alzheimers.

Although Life Drawing falls squarely under the ‘literary fiction’ umbrella, Robin Black uses suspense and pacing like a veteran author of thrillers. We are told in the first paragraphs that Owen dies, yet I was still surprised by the ending. Once I got to the middle of the story and could see where the plot was going, I could not stop reading. When I got to the end, it was tempted to go back and start reading again to see how Black lined up all the dominos that get knocked down in the final few chapters.

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