Title: Pitch Dark
Author: Renata Adler
Publisher: NYRB Classics
Genre: Literary Fiction
I had heard so much about Renata Adler’s books that there was no way I would not read them or at least one of them. So when “Pitch Dark” came my way, I knew I would love it. There are some books you just know you will enjoy no matter what and for me this is one of them. So you read what your instincts tell you will be a good book and you know that they will never lie. And with this belief I read “Pitch Dark” and loved Ms. Adler’s writing.
“Pitch Dark” is a strange book, in the sense that it has one storyline but told in a non-linear fashion – completely fragmented and yet connects in one way or the other. The book is about a woman and her affair with a married man. I am putting it loosely but that’s what it is at the core. There is this melancholy element that runs throughout the book – of unrequited love without it becoming dramatic or sentimental. It is what it is. Adler’s writing is raw, almost like a tornado that hits you and all you want to do is run and yet stay.
There are three sections to the book. The first one where Kate Ennis is told by her lover that he is leaving her or so it seems. Either way, they aren’t together. The second part of the book is on Kate taking off to Ireland and London to stay away and to get her life together and things go terribly wrong in those places as well. The third and final section is of her coming back and contemplating on getting back with her lover.
There is a lot of angst in the book. There is a lot of pain and at the same time there are so many tender moments like that of a raccoon coming to its death in her house in the first chapter to her knowing that things will never be the same. Adler’s writing is sharp, witty and satirical. It is uneasy. It is also quite a surprise in most places but more than anything else it is a pleasurable read in so many places that time just flies by and you will not know when this book ended. I will most certainly reread it this year.