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What is really going on here? For decades Renata Adler has been asking and answering this question with unmatched urgency. As a staff writer at The New Yorker. Adler reported on civil rights from Selma, Alabama; the wars in Biafra, and the Middle East; the Nixon impeachment inquiry; cultural life in Cuba. She also reported on politics and culture in the United States, films (as chief film critic for The New York Times), books, television, pop music, the press. She has taken risks in order to give us the news, not the "news" we have become accustomed to--celebrity journalism, conventional wisdom, received ideas--but the actual story, an account unfettered by ideology or consensus, when too many other writers have joined the pack. The more recent pieces are concerned with, in her words, "misrepresentation, coercion, and abuse of public process, and, to a degree, the journalist's role in it.". Adler brilliantly unravels the tangled narratives that pass for the resolution of scandal and finds the threads that others miss, the ones that explain what really is going on --from the Watergate scandal, to the "preposterous" Kenneth Starr report during the Clinton impeachment inquiry, and the story of then New York Times reporter Jayson Blair. She writes brilliantly too about the Supreme Court and the power of its rulings, including its fateful decision in Bush v. Gore.
The Best Books of 2015 (So Far). Two years after the reappearance in print of her novels Speedboat and Pitch Dark, Adler has returned again as a reporter, essayist, and critic --- one of the best we've had on all three fronts. ... and the truth is, though she's been near-silent for some time, she only ever got better. - Christian Lorentzen, New York Magazine (July 23, 2015)
"The wonderfully funny, acute Renata Adler is almost as good an essayist as a novelist ... It doesn't mean much to say that Renata Adler's journalism isn't quite as interesting as her novels --- almost nothing is as interesting as Renata Adler's novels. ... If Adler has an heir it might be someone like the recently retired TV satirist Jon Stewart, who shares both her moral wryness and love for America. Perhaps the real loss is that nobody quite this careful is paying attention." --- Daniel Swift, Spectator, UK;