1. 
Bartók was what he played, Bartók and Telemann. But what moved him was Wasting Away Again in Margaritaville. What lifted his spirits one season was I’ve Got a Pair of Brand New Roller Skates, You’ve Got a Brand New Key.
—Renata Adler, Pitch Dark

Purchased at Strand Bookstore in New York City.
As always: If you have a photo of an NYRB Classic posed with a cup of coffee or tea, send it to this address and we’ll add it to the Classics and Coffee Club series. And let us know where you bought or borrowed the book from—we’d be glad to shout out places that stock NYRB Classics.

    Bartók was what he played, Bartók and Telemann. But what moved him was Wasting Away Again in Margaritaville. What lifted his spirits one season was I’ve Got a Pair of Brand New Roller Skates, You’ve Got a Brand New Key.

    —Renata Adler, Pitch Dark

    Purchased at Strand Bookstore in New York City.

    As always: If you have a photo of an NYRB Classic posed with a cup of coffee or tea, send it to this address and we’ll add it to the Classics and Coffee Club series. And let us know where you bought or borrowed the book from—we’d be glad to shout out places that stock NYRB Classics.

  2. Renata Adler–themed Club in Williamsburg?

    Baby’s all right, Uncle Jacques and Aunt Zabeth used to say in times of worry or of crisis. Baby’s all right. A friend of theirs, an only child, had always said it, like a little incantation, when he was alone in the dark and frightened, from his babyhood, through his childhood, all his life. His friends took it up. Think of the RAF, my mother would say, for the same reason, at such times. Think of the RAF. Baby’s all right.

    —Renata Adler, Pitch Dark

    Sure, the website for Baby’s All Right cites Aldous Huxley, but is it too much to hope that this was the real inspiration?

  3. “What happens, though, when it is all unsaid, is that you wake up one morning, no, it’s more like late one afternoon, and it’s not just unsaid, it’s gone. That’s all. Just gone. I remember this word, that look, that small inflection, after all this time. I used to hold them, trust them, read them like a rune. Like a sign that there was a house, a billet, a civilization where we were. I look back and I think I was just there all alone. Collecting wisps and signs. Like a spinster who did know a young man once and who imagines ever since that she lost a fiancé in the war.”

    — 

    —Renata Adler, Pitch Dark

    via BLOOM CITY

  4. “Hey wait.
    Well love after all is a habit like any other.
    A habit, maybe. Like any other, no.”

    — Renata Adler, Pitch Dark (via susanazialcita)

  5. 
This is my little disquisition about football: the quarterback, the center, and the towel. On the rare occasions when I went to football games in high school, they were night games. Saturday nights, of course, when it was cold and dark, with a little rain or snow perhaps, while people huddled under their blankets and drank beer. In those days, I wore my glasses only when I had to, and my sight was better than it is now; but even with my glasses on, and no matter where in the stands I sat, I could not see or understand a single play. It seemed to me there were moments when the players stood about, moments when they crouched in opposition, a moment of rising tension, then a thud or scuffle, and they all fell down. After each play, I usually knew what must have happened, either because somebody told me or from the changed position on the field. But that was it. I never saw the ball or knew who had it, even on passes or the longest runs. With television, naturally, I can see and understand the play; and even in the days when I couldn’t see it, I had always liked the game. But as often as I’ve watched football on television, and as much as I’ve come to appreciate some of the beauty of it, there is always, inevitably, repeatedly, a moment that strikes me as wonderfully bizarre. It is the moment, at the line of scrimmage, when the quarterback wipes his hands on a towel draped over the crouching center’s rear. I understand it, obviously; the quarterback, to be sure of getting a firm grip on the football, needs to dry his hands. But, as often as I’ve asked about it, nobody has gone beyond that explanation, delivered, always, as though nothing could be more ordinary. Whereas what interests me, what I simply cannot imagine, is how the particular custom came into existence, the history of it, the history that is, of the quarterback, the center, and the towel.
—Renata Adler, Pitch Dark

The latest entry in the Classics and Coffee Club features a glass of beer, but it seemed fitting since we’re going into football season and you always wondered what Renata Adler thought about (American) football.

Do you have a picture of one of our books with coffee or tea (or even a beer)? Send it to this address and we’ll post it here (making you an honorary member of the Classics and Coffee Club).

    This is my little disquisition about football: the quarterback, the center, and the towel. On the rare occasions when I went to football games in high school, they were night games. Saturday nights, of course, when it was cold and dark, with a little rain or snow perhaps, while people huddled under their blankets and drank beer. In those days, I wore my glasses only when I had to, and my sight was better than it is now; but even with my glasses on, and no matter where in the stands I sat, I could not see or understand a single play. It seemed to me there were moments when the players stood about, moments when they crouched in opposition, a moment of rising tension, then a thud or scuffle, and they all fell down. After each play, I usually knew what must have happened, either because somebody told me or from the changed position on the field. But that was it. I never saw the ball or knew who had it, even on passes or the longest runs. With television, naturally, I can see and understand the play; and even in the days when I couldn’t see it, I had always liked the game. But as often as I’ve watched football on television, and as much as I’ve come to appreciate some of the beauty of it, there is always, inevitably, repeatedly, a moment that strikes me as wonderfully bizarre. It is the moment, at the line of scrimmage, when the quarterback wipes his hands on a towel draped over the crouching center’s rear. I understand it, obviously; the quarterback, to be sure of getting a firm grip on the football, needs to dry his hands. But, as often as I’ve asked about it, nobody has gone beyond that explanation, delivered, always, as though nothing could be more ordinary. Whereas what interests me, what I simply cannot imagine, is how the particular custom came into existence, the history of it, the history that is, of the quarterback, the center, and the towel.

    —Renata Adler, Pitch Dark

    The latest entry in the Classics and Coffee Club features a glass of beer, but it seemed fitting since we’re going into football season and you always wondered what Renata Adler thought about (American) football.

    Do you have a picture of one of our books with coffee or tea (or even a beer)? Send it to this address and we’ll post it here (making you an honorary member of the Classics and Coffee Club).

  6. “Can it be done on friendship? I don’t think so. On intelligence? No. On hope, on love, on fame, on trust, on family, memory, convictions. I don’t know. But if, one day, old, and propped against the pillows, or rocking in chairs together, holding hands perhaps, by the fireside; if, looking back on our lives, older now, looking back on our lives we could say, It was all right, looking back, even the things that looked like mistakes, even the apparent misfortunes at the time, they were not mistakes, they were only part of our lives till now. We have been lucky together. We are drinking, by the fireside, and thinking, why did we worry, what was that remorse. We are here still, and what happened, what we did was right. Then we will have done it. Look here. But we can live this way.”

    — Renata Adler, Pitch Dark. (via burialintheeast)

  7. Renata Adler on Studio 360!

    Over the weekend, Renata Adler was interviewed by Kurt Andersen on Studio 360. She discussed (and read from!) Speedboat and Pitch Dark. It is fantastic. Listen to the interview audio below or read the article here.

    Oh, and while you’re at it, check out the Los Angeles Review of Books’ recent write-up on Speedboat here. Renata love all around! 

  8. Because it would be part of what I know, part of what I have to tell, that I understand something, not everything, but something, of what it is to be alone. In this way. And that there must be others who are and have always been alone. In this way.


    Those for whom there was, first dimly, then more bright, then dimly again, a possibility. Which, though dimly, perhaps still exists, but which they know, have somehow always known, would never come to anything. They were never, how can I put this, going to be part of life. It is as though, going through a landscape, through the seasons, in the same general direction as everybody else, they never quite made it to the road. Through the years, humanity, like a tide of refugees or pilgrims, shoeless and in rags, or in Mercedes, stations wagons, running shoes, were traveling on, joined by others, falling by the way. And we, joined though we may be, briefly, by other strays, or by road travelers on their little detours, nonetheless never quite joined the continuing procession, of life and birth, never quite found or made it to the road.

    — Renata Adler, Pitch Dark (via somanybooksblog)

  9. mcnallyjackson:

slaughterhouse90210:

“Whatever. Being neurotic seemed to be a kind of wild card, an all-purpose explanation.” —Renata Adler, Speedboat

1. lol
2. Renata Adler will be speaking at your friendly (Park Slope) neighborhood bookshop, Community, tonight at 7pm. I’ll see you there, k?
3. Do you subscribe to our newsletter? Yes? You’re awesome. No? You should! Because if you did, you would have received, in your inbox this morning, “Our Choral Ode to Renata Adler”: 

That bemused countenance, that horsewhip braid, that penchant for looking awry. Yep, we’re aswoon for Renata. Re-na-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Re. Na. Ta. We sketch her likeness in our spiral notebooks, adopt her patterns of speech, attempt her confident stance, wear belt-less jeans. We’d launch a 1,000 speedboats in her honor, if we had them. We don’t. 

How good would that have made your morning? Sign up for our mailing list here here here here.

    mcnallyjackson:

    slaughterhouse90210:

    “Whatever. Being neurotic seemed to be a kind of wild card, an all-purpose explanation.”
    —Renata Adler, Speedboat

    1. lol

    2. Renata Adler will be speaking at your friendly (Park Slope) neighborhood bookshop, Communitytonight at 7pm. I’ll see you there, k?

    3. Do you subscribe to our newsletter? Yes? You’re awesome. No? You should! Because if you did, you would have received, in your inbox this morning, “Our Choral Ode to Renata Adler”: 

    That bemused countenance, that horsewhip braid, that penchant for looking awry. Yep, we’re aswoon for Renata. Re-na-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Re. Na. Ta. We sketch her likeness in our spiral notebooks, adopt her patterns of speech, attempt her confident stance, wear belt-less jeans. We’d launch a 1,000 speedboats in her honor, if we had them. We don’t. 

    How good would that have made your morning? Sign up for our mailing list here here here here.

  10. Renata Adler/Issue Project Room/Greenpoint/tomorrow


    This gentleman was reading Renata Adler’s Speedboat on the Q train to work this morning. You can hear Renata live in the flesh tomorrow at 155 Freeman St., between Manhattan & Franklin Aves in Greenpoint, as part of the Issue Project Room “Littoral” event series, tomorrow at 8 p.m. She’ll be reading from her novels Speedboat and Pitch Dark, and talking with our editor Edwin Frank. If you’ve already read Renata’s books, you’ll know the talk could go something like this:

        ‘I shouldn’t have come,’ the Englishman said, waving his drink and breathing so heavily at me that I could feel my bangs shift. ‘I have a terrible cold.’
        ‘He would probably have married her,’ a voice across the room said, ‘with the exception that he died.’
        ‘Well, I am a personality that prefers not to be annoyed.’
        ‘We should all prepare ourselves for this eventuality.’
        A six-year-old was passing the hors d’oeuvres. The baby, not quite steady on his feet, was hurtling about the room.
        ‘He’s following me,’ the six-year-old said, in despair.
        ‘Then lock yourself in the bathroom, dear,’ Inez replied.
        ‘He always waits outside the door.’
        ‘He loves you, dear.’
        ‘Well, I don’t like it.’
        ‘How I envy you,’ the minister’s wife was saying to a courteous, bearded boy, ‘reading Magic Mountain for the first time.’

  11. Renata Adler & David Shields talk tonight at The Strand.  →

    To get in you either have to buy a copy of Speedboat or Pitch Dark or a $15 Strand gift certificate. We think this is pretty fair.

  12. Renata Adler, back in print

    image    image

    I was lying on a Mediterranean boat deck, on a windless day. It was odd that I should be there, but no more odd than my work, or the slums, or the places where people do find themselves as their luck shifts. A girl of eighteen was taking the sun with great seriousness. The rest of our party were swimming, or playing cards below, or drinking hard. The girl was blond, shy, and laconic. After two hours of silence, in that sun, she spoke. ‘When you have a tan,’ she said, ‘what have you got?’

    Today Renata Adler’s much-talked-about novels, Speedboat and Pitch Dark, are back in print. The above quotation is from Speedboat, and we think gives a good sense of the episodic style and brutal perception that has made Adler and her novels so influential, and much in discussion recently at places like The New York Times Book Review, New York magazine, 3:AM magazine, The Guardian, Off on a Tangent blog, Chicago Tribune (behind a paywall), Slate, Quarterly Conversation, and The New Yorker’s Page-Turner blog.

  13. 
I drink some milk, feel rather sick from the thickness and richness of it; make some coffee, drink that with warm milk, feel marginally better

—Renata Adler, Pitch Dark
Submit pictures of your copies of NYRB Classics (or books from our Children’s Collction) with coffee, tea, cocoa or any warm drink and we will post them here. This photo is courtesy of Jessica Ferri

    I drink some milk, feel rather sick from the thickness and richness of it; make some coffee, drink that with warm milk, feel marginally better

    —Renata Adler, Pitch Dark

    Submit pictures of your copies of NYRB Classics (or books from our Children’s Collction) with coffee, tea, cocoa or any warm drink and we will post them here. This photo is courtesy of Jessica Ferri

  14. janehu:

    As per the NYRB’s “Coffee and Classics Club.” (The Adler edition.)

    And a process shot to boot—nice touch!

  15. theparisreview:

“These are fundamentally probing, even discomfiting, books.” Meghan O’Rourke pays tribute to Renata Adler. 
For more of this morning’s roundup, click here.

    theparisreview:

    “These are fundamentally probing, even discomfiting, books.” Meghan O’Rourke pays tribute to Renata Adler. 

    For more of this morning’s roundup, click here.