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Lorraine Adams, former Washington Post reporter, writes a novel about a certain Washington newspaper

Lorraine Adams (Photo by Mary Noble Ours)

Wondering if the "Washington Spectator" newspaper in which Lorraine Adams sets her just-released novel, "The Room and the Chair," was inspired by The Washington Post, where she used to work as a reporter? A couple of things might raise your suspicions:

  • The fictional newsroom seems to be the place where Janet Cooke scandalously fabricated a prizewinning story -- in fact, she's called "Janet Cooke" in the novel.

  • The fictional paper published the stories that forced a president named Richard Nixon to resign -- kind of like this one.

  • The fictional investigative reporter, "Don Grady," who broke Watergate, still works for the paper while churning out best-selling books -- and in case he doesn't remind you enough of Bob Woodward, publicity materials for the book helpfully describe him as "a Woodwardian figure."

    (Courtesy Alfred A. Knopf)

    Adams, however, won't go there. Asked about the similarities to her former workplace, the Pulitzer winner laughed. "My lawyer has advised me not to comment," she told us. Grady is accused of withholding a bombshell intelligence report from colleagues so he can save it for his book. (Woodward declined to speak about a book he hasn't read, but told us that "I wish her luck with the novel.")

    But a larger plotline in Adams's novel (our colleague Hank Stuever devoured it in a matter of days and took notes for us) concerns the "Spectator" letting a story die that doesn't fit the the paper's rigid notions about journalism. Is that something that happened to Adams, who left the Post in 2003 after 11 years? "Groupthink is a problem across society," she said. "I'm looking at how human beings here in all their wonder and mystery and frailty stumble around a lot."

    She added: "Nothing like the things depicted in this book ever happened to me." Okay, then.

  • By The Reliable Source  |  February 11, 2010; 1:04 AM ET
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    I love a good parlor game.

    "Nothing like the things depicted in this book ever happened to me."

    Did they happen to someone else?

    Posted by: dadada | February 11, 2010 5:11 AM | Report abuse

    "...letting a story die that doesn't fit the the paper's rigid notions about journalism."

    C'mon, what story was that? Inquiring minds want to know!

    Posted by: Nosy_Parker | February 11, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse

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