After being out of print for decades, Renata Adler’s critically acclaimed cult novels Speedboat and Pitch Dark are going to be re-released as New York Review Books classics. Of Adler's fiction, John Leonard wrote: "Nobody writes better prose than Renata Adler."
The New York Review’s Sara Kramer writes:
“We don't have the books scheduled yet, but they'll most likely be published at the start of 2013 (it sounds far away but it's our next available season). We usually talk about the classics series as publishing books that had been forgotten, but the Adler books are a little different. Far from being forgotten, it seems that if anything their reputation and influence have grown over the years.”
In 2010, a National Book Critics Circle poll identified Speedboat, winner of the 1976 Hemingway Award for Best First Novel, as the book most members wanted to see back in print. The acquisitions are also are a significant get for New York Review Books: Melville House was so certain that they were going to win the rights to the novels that they included them in their 2012 catalogue.
Adler's fiction “picks up on a certain New York-intellectual-bohemian strand in the series, but their narrative mode is something of a departure from what we've published in the past,” Kramer told Bookforum. “Add that to the fact that Adler wrote for the Review back in the day and that Elizabeth Hardwick was an early champion of [Speedboat] it all seemed pre-ordained.” (One of Adler's contributions to the NYRB was her notorious scathing essay about Pauline Kael.)
After publishing her two novels, Adler went on to release four books of nonfiction, including Gone, a controversial book about working at The New Yorker.
And now the big question about the reissues: who will write the introductions?
A youthful Margaret Atwood.
The University of Texas’s Harry Ransom Center, which in the past few years has acquired the papers of David Foster Wallace and Denis Johnson, has now bought the papers of J.M. Coetzee, who earned his Ph.D. from UT-Austin in 1969. The Ransom Center will house more than 160 cabinets and boxes of the Nobel Prize winner’s items, including “family photographs, business correspondence, recordings of interviews, notebooks, and early manuscripts for his novels and his autobiography.”
Is it journalism? Is it fiction? Does it matter? Jonathan Franzen claims that David Foster Wallace fabricated some—and perhaps most—of his nonfiction.
Margaret Atwood is no stranger to postapocalyptic scenarios and ecological disaster. So it’s not that surprising that a special, autographed edition of her latest book, In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination, will be printed on a material made primarily out of straw—“without any harmful impact on forests and their fragile ecosystems.”
The “Cavalcade of Literary Jerks: Part 1.” Who will be number one?
Independence Day author Richard Ford is joining the faculty of Columbia’s MFA program in writing.
Hat tip to the Observer’s Emily Witt: In their profile of 97-year-old stand-up comedian Irwin Corey, the New York Times failed to mentioned one of the comic’s better stunts—accepting the 1973 National Book Award for Gravity’s Rainbow as Thomas Pynchon.
The people who bring you the National Book Award have announced the latest batch of “5 Under 35” authors.