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Pitch Dark by Renata Adler

Pitch Dark by Renata Adler

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Claire recommends:

Everybody talks about Speedboat but this is THE ONE. (Actually Speedboat is also marvellous.) The lens moves in and out of focus across fragments of memory as Kate Ennis negotiates the end of an affair.

From the publisher:

“What’s new. What else. What next. What’s happened here.”

Pitch Dark is a book about love. Kate Ennis is poised at a critical moment in an affair with a married man. The complications and contradictions pursue her from a house in rural Connecticut to a brownstone apartment in New York City, to a small island off the coast of Washington, to a pitch black night in backcountry Ireland.

Composed in the style of Renata Adler’s celebrated novel Speedboat and displaying her keen journalist’s eye and mastery of language, both simple and sublime, Pitch Dark is a bold and astonishing work of art.

Two things hold Pitch Dark together and give it speed and magic. The first is Miss Adler’s gift for language and observation .... and the second is her willingness to write candidly, even rawly, about emotions.
—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

These novels are records of a penetrating intelligence, a skeptical intelligence (but, thank God, not a reflexively skeptical intelligence). They are novels that persuade you of their claims to truth, and ones in which any literate young person in publishing in New York can see a bit of her or himself [...] It’s great to have these novels back in print, at long last.
—Meghan O’Rourke, The New Yorker’s Page-Turner Blog

Adler’s novels concede the necessity of making fiction quicker, more terse, descriptively less elaborate than the traditional thing called a novel, not so much in deference to shrunken attention spans, but as the most plausible way of rendering the distracted, fragmentary quality of contemporary consciousness [...] They describe what it’s like to be living now, during this span of time, in our particular country and our particular world. This is what the best novels have always done, and with any luck will continue to do.
—Gary Indiana, Bookforum