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November192008

Renata Adler: Finally, Some Insight into the "Dime" Mystery

Filed under: Eustace Google   Tagged: ,

In 2004, Robert Birnbaum interviewed Renata Adler at The Morning News; unsurprisingly, the matchup of these two idiosyncratic people produced an interesting, wide-ranging, scattershot interview touching on many aspects of writing and reporting and publishing.

My colleague Benjamin Chambers has twice expressed befuddlement at Adler’s inability to quote the last line of her own novel Speedboat accurately. The line Adler mangled, in her book Gone: The Last Days of The New Yorker, runs as follows: “It could be that the sort of sentence one wants right here is the kind that runs, and laughs, and slides, and stops right on a dime.”

With this in mind, here’s the sentence that jumped out at me: “I have this quirk, this neuroticism, [pause] this habit … of editing all the way down to the wire and past.”

So that’s it. She was just editing past the wire again!

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