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The Year of Magical Thinking Paperback – 13 February 2007

4.6 out of 5 stars 2,879 ratings

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let me tell you south and west blue nights year of magical thinking we tell ourselves stories in order to live the last thing he wanted
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.

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Review

“Thrilling . . . a living, sharp, and memorable book. . . . An exact, candid, and penetrating account of personal terror and bereavement . . . sometimes quite funny because it dares to tell the truth.”
—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 was born in Sacramento in 1934 and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1956. After graduation, Didion moved to New York and began working for Vogue, which led to her career as a journalist and writer. Didion published her first novel, Run River, in 1963. Didion’s other novels include A Book of Common Prayer (1977), Democracy (1984), and The Last Thing He Wanted (1996).
 
Didion’s first volume of essays,
Slouching Towards Bethlehem, was published in 1968, and her second, The White Album, was published in 1979. Her nonfiction works include Salvador (1983), Miami (1987), After Henry (1992), Political Fictions (2001), Where I Was From (2003), We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live (2006), Blue Nights (2011), South and West (2017) and Let Me Tell You What I Mean (2021). Her memoir The Year of Magical Thinking won the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 2005.
 
In 2005, Didion was awarded the American Academy of Arts & Letters Gold Medal in Criticism and Belles Letters. In 2007, she was awarded the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. A portion of National Book Foundation citation read: "An incisive observer of American politics and culture for more than forty-five years, Didion’s distinctive blend of spare, elegant prose and fierce intelligence has earned her books a place in the canon of American literature as well as the admiration of generations of writers and journalists.” In 2013, she was awarded a National Medal of Arts and Humanities by President Barack Obama, and the PEN Center USA’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Didion said of her writing: "I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means.” She died in December 2021.
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Product details

  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 240 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1400078431
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1400078431
  • Customer reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 2,879 ratings

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wombat
1.0 out of 5 stars Didion is a self-centered narcissist
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 6 September 2018
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KayDee
1.0 out of 5 stars If you're not rich and beloved, move on to the next book.
Reviewed in the United States on 9 January 2020
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aarnald amundssen
4.0 out of 5 stars SELF-CENTRED NARCISSISM ASIDE ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 22 February 2019
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Erasmus
3.0 out of 5 stars I don't know what to make of this
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 7 December 2018
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Rose Lois Presley
5.0 out of 5 stars it’s not your conventional love story, ‘The Year of Magical Thinking’ is the ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 21 August 2016
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