Madness Most Discreet
New York Times
Nunn has always been especially interested in life’s highs and lows, and his customary vehicle for exploring them is the West Coast culture of surfing: Southern California in his superb debut novel, “Tapping the Source,” and in his 2004 novel, “Tijuana Straits”; Northern California in “The Dogs of Winter,” which may be his masterpiece. In “Chance,” his first novel in 10 years and only his sixth overall, the streets of the city stand in for the huge breakers his surfers live to catch, the Bay Area fog for the white spray that envelops them when the ride is over. San Francisco does its metaphoric work admirably here, though in the absence of the lyrical, even rhapsodic prose of the earlier novels’ surfing passages, Nunn’s characteristic fatalism seems starker, more pitiless than usual.