Literary Birthday – 19 October – Renata Adler

Happy Birthday, Renata Adler, born 19 October 1937.


  1. That ‘writers write‘ is meant to be self-evident. People like to say it. I find it is hardly ever true. Writers drink. Writers rant. Writers phone. Writers sleep. I have met very few writers who write at all.
  2. There are times when every act, no matter how private and unconscious, becomes political.
  3. Idle people are often bored and bored people, unless they sleep a lot, are cruel. It is not accident that boredom and cruelty are great preoccupations in our time.
  4. It is always self-defeating to pretend to the style of a generation younger than your own; it simply erases your own experience in history.
  5. Hardly anyone about whom I deeply care at all resembles anyone else I have ever met, or heard of, or read about in literature.
  6. Writing about writing is a bit like talking about a conversation you are having; it tends to obscure desperation about where the next word is coming from.
  7. The whole magic of a plot requires that somebody be impeded from getting something over with.
  8. The writer has a grudge against society, which he documents with accounts of unsatisfying sex, unrealised ambition, unmitigated loneliness, and a sense of local and global distress.
  9. Nothing defines the quality of life in a community more clearly than people who regard themselves, or whom the consensus chooses to regard, as mentally unwell.
  10. Every love story, every commercial trade, every secret, every matter in which trust is involved, is a gentle transaction of hostages. Everything is, to a degree, in the custody of every other thing. Blackmail, kidnapping, then, are among the extreme violations of the deal.

Renata Adler is an American author, journalist, and film critic. Her books include Speedboat and Pitch Dark.

Image of Author

 by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 19th October 2017