From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Adair was born in Edinburgh, but from 1968 to 1980 he lived in Paris, France. His early works of fiction included Alice Through the Needle's Eye (following Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass) and Peter Pan and the Only Children (following Peter and Wendy). He won the Author's Club First Novel Award in 1988 for his novel The Holy Innocents. From 1992 to 1996 he wrote the "Scrutiny" column for The Sunday Times.
In 1995 he won the Scott Moncrieff Translation Prize for his book A Void, which is a translation of the French book La Disparition by Georges Perec. The original book contains no instances of the letter e; Adair translated it with the same limitation. His works are compared to those of Julian Barnes, A. S. Byatt and Patrick Gale.
The film Love and Death on Long Island (1997), directed by Richard Kwietniowski, was based on his 1990 novel of the same name. The film The Dreamers (2003) directed by Bernardo Bertolucci, with a script by Adair, was based on his book The Holy Innocents, which Adair revised and rereleased under the same title as the film.
At the end of his life, he lived in London, England. Adair died from a brain haemorrhage, a year after suffering a stroke which blinded him. He was writing a stage version of Love and Death on Long Island, which is being developed by producers New Gods and Heroes, at the time of his death.
- Alice through the Needle's Eye (1984)
- Peter Pan and the Only Children (1987)
- The Holy Innocents (1988) - winner of the Author's Club First Novel Award
- Love and Death on Long Island (1990)
- The Death of the Author (1992) - a black satire of contemporary theoretical cultishness and a metaphysical murder mystery
- The Key of the Tower (1997)
- A Closed Book (1999) - a literary thriller about a prize-winning novelist left blind after a serious car accident.
- The Dreamers (2003) - a tale of sexual obsession set against the backdrop of the Paris street riots of 1968
- Buenas Noches, Buenos Aires (2004) - the story of Gideon, a young Englishman in 1980s Paris, on the verge of sexual discovery
- The Act of Roger Murgatroyd (2006) - a murder mystery set in the 1930s on Dartmoor, first in the Evadne Mount trilogy
- A Mysterious Affair of Style (2007) - second in the Evadne Mount trilogy
- And Then There Was No One (2009) - third in the Evadne Mount trilogy
- A Night at the Pictures (with Nick Roddick) (1985)
- Myths & Memories (1986)
- Hollywood's Vietnam (1981)
- The Postmodernist Always Rings Twice (1992)
- Wonder Tales: Six French Stories of Enchantment (editor with Marina Warner) (1995)
- Flickers (1995)
- Surfing the Zeitgeist (1997)
- Movies (editor) (1999)
- The Real Tadzio (2001) - a biography of the boy (Baron Władysław Moes) who inspired Thomas Mann's Death in Venice.
- Letters by François Truffaut (1990) (also editor)
- A Void by Georges Perec (1994) — winner of the Scott Moncrieff Translation Prize
- Zazie in the Metro by Raymond Queneau (2000) (introduction)