Thursday, 15 December 2022

Pitch Dark

Finished December 14
Pitch Dark by Renata Adler

This novel was originally published in 1983 and has a very different style. It's almost stream of consciousness, but disconnected and it jumps around between different times. The narrator Kate Ellis is a journalist who has been in a long term relationship with a married man, one that she knows will never be more than that. She thinks of leaving him, but she doesn't seem to have the motivation to want more for herself. 
One central story here is when she goes to Ireland for some time alone, staying in a house that an ambassador that she met owns and has offered for her use. This seems an odd story, where she has a minor accident while driving to the house, and has a sense that she is being set up by the victim and the police, but can't put her finger on what's happening. She also seems a bit cowed by the staff at the house she is staying at, and her reaction to it all is extreme. 
The afterword to the novel was written back in 1983 as well, by Muriel Spark, an author I always enjoy, and it was also an odd read. It is hesitant and not that enthusiastic about the novel and mentions how it fails in some regards as to what the author likely intended, but she does say that she found the episodes in Kate's life fascinating. One thing she noted that I did as well, was the narrator choosing to use a false name at one point and in going over her options related them to Renata's name rather than the character's name, raising the question of whether this was deliberate and whether the novel is really a memoir of a sort. A very different read. 

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