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The Year of Magical Thinking Paperback – 13 February 2007
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER • From one of America’s iconic writers, a stunning book of electric honesty and passion that explores an intensely personal yet universal experience: a portrait of a marriage—and a life, in good times and bad—that will speak to anyone who has ever loved a husband or wife or child.
Several days before Christmas 2003, John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion saw their only daughter, Quintana, fall ill with what seemed at first flu, then pneumonia, then complete septic shock. She was put into an induced coma and placed on life support. Days later—the night before New Year’s Eve—the Dunnes were just sitting down to dinner after visiting the hospital when John Gregory Dunne suffered a massive and fatal coronary. In a second, this close, symbiotic partnership of forty years was over. Four weeks later, their daughter pulled through. Two months after that, arriving at LAX, she collapsed and underwent six hours of brain surgery at UCLA Medical Center to relieve a massive hematoma.
This powerful book is Didion’ s attempt to make sense of the “weeks and then months that cut loose any fixed idea I ever had about death, about illness ... about marriage and children and memory ... about the shallowness of sanity, about life itself.
|Let Me Tell You What I Mean||South and West||Blue Nights||The Year of Magical Thinking||We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live||The Last Thing He Wanted|
|From one of our most iconic and influential writers: a timeless collection of mostly early pieces that reveal what would become Joan Didion's subjects, including the press, politics, California robber barons, women, and her own self-doubt.||Here are two extended excerpts from notebooks Joan Didion kept in the 1970s; read together, they form a piercing view of the American political and cultural landscape.||"A New York Times Notable Book and National Bestseller From one of our most powerful writers, a work of stunning frankness about losing a daughter."||A stunning book of electric honesty and passion that explores an intensely personal yet universal experience: a portrait of a marriage—and a life, in good times and bad—that will speak to anyone who has ever loved a husband or wife or child.||Includes seven books in one volume: the full texts of Slouching Towards Bethlehem; The White Album; Salvador; Miami; After Henry; Political Fictions; and Where I Was From.||An incisive and chilling look at a modern world where things are not working as they should—and where the oblique and official language is as sinister as the events it is covering up.|
—Robert Pinsky, The New York Times Book Review
“Stunning candor and piercing details. . . . An indelible portrait of loss and grief.”
—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“I can’t think of a book we need more than hers. . . . I can’t imagine dying without this book.”
—John Leonard, New York Review of Books
“Achingly beautiful. . . . We have come to admire and love Didion for her preternatural poise, unrivaled eye for absurdity, and Orwellian distaste for cant. It is thus a difficult, moving, and extraordinarily poignant experience to watch her direct such scrutiny inward.”
—Gideon Lewis-Kraus, Los Angeles Times
“An act of consummate literary bravery, a writer known for her clarity allowing us to watch her mind as it becomes clouded with grief. . . . It also skips backward in time [to] call up a shimmering portrait of her unique marriage. . . . To make her grief real, Didion shows us what she has lost.”
—Lev Grossman, Time
About the Author
JOAN DIDION is the author of five novels and ten books of nonfiction, including The Year of Magical Thinking and Blue Nights. Born in Sacramento, California, Didion lived in New York City. She died in 2021.
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I donated this to a local book swap, but made a note on it to the next reader that if you're recently bereaved and struggling, this is the absolute last book you should read for comfort, unless you are as well off as Didion.
Despite these weasel words, read it anyway.