Tuesday, July 05, 2011

New Today: I Knew You’d Be Lovely by Alethea Black

The most surprising thing about Alethea Black’s debut collection is how small of a push it’s being given and how little attention it’s received. Black’s is a rich, accomplished and startlingly good literary presence, deserving of quite a bit more.

Black’s voice is fresh, bright and original, the 13 stories collected here are well-crafted and engaging. Black’s observations on life, love and the human condition are keen and welcome.

Another welcome innvovation: the author finishes I Knew You’d Be Lovely (Broadway) with an Author’s Notes section that removes the curtain and sheds light on her thoughts and inspirations as she crafted each story. “I wrestled with this story while writing it,” she says about “Proof of Love,” “keenly aware of the fine line between a character who has strong opinions and a story that has strong opinions, and the cosmic No-No of finding yourself on the wrong side of that line. (Samuel Goldwyn: ‘If you have a message, send a telegram.’)”

This is a short story collection for those who love short stories: rich, complete and memorable, this is a voice we’ll be waiting to hear more from. Soon. ◊

Monica Stark is a contributing editor to January Magazine. She currently makes her home on a liveaboard boat somewhere in the North Pacific.

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