The tone in Renata Adler’s novels is more or less that of Joan Didion, whose writing influenced a generation. It is the voice of a woman in emotional extremis, pondering whether to fold or stay at the table, generally making the same decision as one of Samuel Beckett’s characters: “I can’t go on. I’ll go on.”
“Speedboat” was published in the late 1970s and had everybody talking. “Pitch Dark” was published in 1983 and received less acclaim, although it’s not markedly inferior to the earlier book; rather, the zeitgeist had moved on. Both novels are narrated by journalists who doubt their craft and just about everything else, and they take the razor to themselves with the same alacrity as they do to innocent bystanders.
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