“I guess I felt—and now feel—as though I was 19 when I wrote it,” Renata Adler said of her first novel Speedboat. “And maybe still am. And by Pitch Dark, I was maybe 19-and-a-half.”
In fact, Ms. Adler, a slight, bespectacled woman who was seated across from me a few weeks ago at a café near Grand Central, was turning 38 when Speedboat was published in 1976. Pitch Dark came out seven years later. Both, long out of print, have just been reissued by NYRB Classics, but not before other writers drummed up interest about Ms. Adler’s work. The National Book Critics Circle campaigned for Speedboat to be reissued, and David Shields, whose 2010 book Reality Hunger helped introduce a new generation of readers to Ms. Adler’s debut, wrote in an email to me, “A crucial part of the performance of her literary persona—in Speedboat and Pitch Dark and elsewhere—is how resolutely un-nice she is while remaining deeply civilized.”
In person, she’s friendly, occasionally pausing mid-thought, hooking her left thumb into the black belt of her blue jeans while she chooses her next words. On the page, she is calm, observant and logical; she is funny, with an eye for the ridiculous; she is rigorous and intelligent. And she is unabashedly honest.
What happens when a titan of journalism moves into classes at Boston University and things get real?
According to the Rate My Professors.com entries over the last two years on former New Yorker writer and Ken Starr scourge Renata Adler:
How many profs have wikipedia entries longer than most congressmen’s? [...] Tells great Read More
If John J. Sirica Jr. has his way, a little bit of Renata Adler’s memoir Gone: The Last Days of the New Yorker might be gone sometime soon. On Valentine’s Day, the son of the late Watergate judge faxed Simon & Schuster Trade Division editor-in-chief Michael Korda requesting the removal of certain passages about his Read More
Gone: The Last Days of ‘The New Yorker’ , by Renata Adler. Simon & Schuster, 252 pages, $25.
Come sit for a moment, prop your chin on your hand and gaze–like Gibbon regarding the grandeur that was Rome–upon the ivy-covered ruins of the noble New Yorker . Here and there among the shapeless hummocks Read More
A few months ago, I reviewed in these pages a book of memoirs by Michael Korda, in which I turn up as a good guy. Now, Renata Adler has written a book- Gone: The Last Days of ‘The New Yorker’ -in which I’m one of the bad guys. Renata’s editor is Michael Korda, and her Read More