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From one of our most powerful writers, a work of stunning frankness about losing a daughter. Richly textured with bits of her own childhood and married life with her husband, John Gregory Dunne, and daughter, Quintana Roo, this new book by Joan Didion examines her thoughts, fears, and doubts regarding having children, illness, and growing old. Blue Nights opens on July 26, 2010, as Didion thinks back to Quintana's wedding in New York seven years before. Today would be her wedding anniversary. This fact triggers vivid snapshots of Quintana's childhood--in Malibu, in Brentwood, at school in Holmby Hills. Reflecting on her daughter but also on her role as a parent, Didion asks the candid questions any parent might about how she feels she failed either because cues were not taken or perhaps displaced. "How could I have missed what was clearly there to be seen?" Finally, perhaps we all remain unknown to each other. Seamlessly woven in are incidents Didion sees as underscoring her own age, something she finds hard to acknowledge, much less accept. Blue Nights--the long, light evening hours that signal the summer solstice, "the opposite of the dying of the brightness, but also its warning"--like The Year of Magical Thinking before it, is an iconic book of incisive and electric honesty, haunting and profoundly moving.From the Hardcover edition.
Writing with the telegraphic swiftness and microscopic sensitivity that have made her one of our most distinguished journalists, Joan Didion creates a shimmering novel of innocence and evil.A Book of Common Prayer is the story of two American women in the derelict Central American nation of Boca Grande. Grace Strasser-Mendana controls much of the country's wealth and knows virtually all of its secrets; Charlotte Douglas knows far too little. "Immaculate of history, innocent of politics," she has come to Boca Grande vaguely and vainly hoping to be reunited with her fugitive daughter. As imagined by Didion, her fate is at once utterly particular and fearfully emblematic of an age of conscienceless authority and unfathomable violence.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Inez Victor knows that the major casualty of the political life is memory. But the people around Inez have made careers out of losing track. Her senator husband wants to forget the failure of his last bid for the presidency. Her husband's handler would like the press to forget that Inez's father is a murderer. And, in 1975, the year in which much of this bitterly funny novel is set, America is doing its best to lose track of its one-time client, the lethally hemorrhaging republic of South Vietnam.As conceived by Joan Didion, these personages and events constitute the terminal fallout of democracy, a fallout that also includes fact-finding junkets, senatorial groupies, the international arms market, and the Orwellian newspeak of the political class. Moving deftly from Honolulu to Jakarta, between romance, farce, and tragedy, Democracy is a tour de force from a writer who can dissect an entire society with a single phrase.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Author describes how, since September 11, 2001, there has been a determined effort by the administration to promote an imperial America, a "New Unilateralism" and how, in many parts of America, there is now a disconnect between the government and its citizens.
This intricate, fast-paced story, whose many scenes and details fit together like so many pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, is Didion's 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.The narrator introduces Elena McMahon, estranged from a life of celebrity fundraisers and from her powerful West Coast husband, Wynn Janklow, whom she has left, taking Catherine, her daughter, to become a reporter for The Washington Post. Suddenly walking off the 1984 campaign, she finds herself boarding a plane for Florida to see her father, Dick McMahon. She becomes embroiled in her Dick's business though "she had trained herself since childhood not to have any interest in what he was doing." It is from this moment that she is caught up in something much larger than she could have imagined, something that includes Ambassador-at-Large Treat Austin Morrison and Alexander Brokaw, the ambassador to an unnamed Caribbean island. Into this startling vision of conspiracies, arms dealing, and assassinations, Didion makes connections among Dallas, Iran-Contra, and Castro, and points up how "spectral companies with high-concept names tended to interlock." As this book builds to its terrifying finish, we see the underpinnings of a dark historical underbelly. This is our system, the one "trying to create a context for democracy and getting [its] hands a little dirty in the process."From the Hardcover edition.
The subject of this book is the fateful relationship between Cuban exiles of Miami and the larger body politic of the United States. Didion describes a place in which two profoundly different cultures co-exist, apparently with no understanding of each other, and where the myths of Cuban exile have not only become the everyday stuff of local politics, but have spread out from Miami to the White House and beyond.
En El año del pensamiento mágico, Joan Didion contemplaba cómo los rituales que formaban parte de su vida cotidiana cambiaban drásticamente con la súbita muerte de su marido en 2003. El libro fue publicado en 2005, justo unos meses después de que su única hija, Quintana Roo, muriera a la edad de 39 años. En su nuevo libro, Noches azules, Didion hilvana instantáneas literarias y recuerdos olvidados sobre la vida y la muerte de su hija. Noches azules trata acerca de lo que queda después de la pérdida de un ser querido.
A profoundly disturbing novel, riveting in its exploration of a woman and a society in crisis and stunning in the still-startling intensity of its prose.
In 1988, Joan Didion began looking at the American political process for The New York Review of Books. What she found was not a mechanism that offered the nation's citizens a voice in its affairs but one designed by--and for--"that handful of insiders who invent, year in and year out, the narrative of public life." The eight pieces collected here from The New York Review build, one on the other, to a stunning whole, a portrait of the American political landscape that tells us, devastatingly, how we got where we are today. In Political Fictions, tracing the dreamwork that was already clear at the time of the first Bush ascendance in 1988, Didion covers the ways in which the continuing and polarizing nostalgia for an imagined America led to the entrenchment of a small percentage of the electorate as the nation's deciding political force, the ways in which the two major political parties have worked to narrow the electorate to this manageable element, the readiness with which the media collaborated in this process, and, finally and at length, how this mindset led inexorably over the past dozen years to the crisis that was the 2000 election. In this book Didion cuts to the core of the deceptions and deflections to explain and illuminate what came to be called "the disconnect"--and to reveal a political class increasingly intolerant of the nation that sustains it. Joan Didion's profound understanding of America's political and cultural terrain, her sense of historical irony, and the play of her imagination make Political Fictions a disturbing and brilliant tour de force.
«En la tierra dorada el futuro siempre es atractivo, porque nadie recuerda el pasado.»Joan Didion es una de las cronistas fundamentales de la segunda mitad del siglo XX. Los que sueñan el sueño dorado reúne por primera vez en castellano una selección de artículos y ensayos de sus libros Arrastrarse hacia Belén, un clásico moderno sobre la vida en la Norteamérica de los años sesenta y especialmente sobre el centro de la contracultura, California; El álbum blanco, un mosaico de los años sesenta y setenta que incluye episodios vagamente autobiográficos de la vida de la autora; Después de Henry, donde Joan Didion nos advierte sobre las fantasías que los medios de comunicación construyen en torno a las víctimas de crímenes violentos; Salvador, que dibuja un retrato de los horrores cometidos en ese país y su estrecha relación con la política exterior de Estados Unidos, y Miami, donde reflexiona acerca de la inmigración y el exilio, y la pasión, la hipocresía y la violencia políticas. Todos ellos conforman una visión crítica y literaria fundamental para entender la sociedad americana actual.«Un enfoque único y fascinante... Didion debe de ser una observadora de otro planeta, tan audaz y alerta que termina sabiendo más sobre nuestro mundo que nosotros mismos.»Anne Tyler
Joan Didion's electrifying first novel is a haunting portrait of a marriage whose wrong turns and betrayals are at once absolutely idiosyncratic and a razor-sharp commentary on the history of California. Everett McClellan and his wife, Lily, are the great-grandchildren of pioneers, and what happens to them is a tragic epilogue to the pioneer experience, a story of murder and betrayal that only Didion could tell with such nuance, sympathy, and suspense.From the Trade Paperback edition.
"Terror is the given of the place." The place is El Salvador in 1982, at the ghastly height of its civil war. The writer is Joan Didion, who delivers an anatomy of that country's particular brand of terror-its mechanisms, rationales, and intimate relation to United States foreign policy.As ash travels from battlefields to body dumps, interviews a puppet president, and considers the distinctly Salvadoran grammar of the verb "to disappear," Didion gives us a book that is germane to any country in which bloodshed has become a standard tool of politics.From the Trade Paperback edition.
The novelist and essayist Elizabeth Hardwick is one of contemporary America's most brilliant writers, and Seduction and Betrayal, in which she considers the careers of women writers as well as the larger question of the presence of women in literature, is her most passionate and concentrated work of criticism. A gallery of unforgettable portraits--of Virginia Woolf and Zelda Fitzgerald, Dorothy Wordsworth and Jane Carlyle--as well as a provocative reading of such works as Wuthering Heights, Hedda Gabler, and the poems of Sylvia Plath, Seduction and Betrayal is a virtuoso performance, a major writer's reckoning with the relations between men and women, women and writing, writing and life.
The first nonfiction work by one of the most distinctive prose stylists of our era, Slouching Towards Bethlehem remains, forty years after its first publication, the essential portrait of America-- particularly California--in the sixties. It focuses on such subjects as John Wayne and Howard Hughes, growing up a girl in California, ruminating on the nature of good and evil in a Death Valley motel room, and, especially, the essence of San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury, the heart of the counterculture.
"Didion has the instincts of an exceptional reporter and the focus of a historian ... a novelist's appreciation of the surreal." --Los Angeles Times Book Review. Whether she's writing about civil war in Central America, political scurrility in Washington, or the tight-braided myths and realities of her native California, Joan Didion expresses an unblinking vision of the truth. Vintage Didion includes three chapters from Miami; an excerpt from Salvador; and three separate essays from After Henry that cover topics from Ronald Reagan to the Central Park jogger case. Also included is "Clinton Agonistes" from Political Fictions,and "Fixed Opinions, or the Hinge of History," a scathing analysis of the ongoing war on terror.
In this moving and unexpected book, Joan Didion reassesses parts of her life, her work, her history, and ours. Where I Was From, in Didion's words, "represents an exploration into my own confusions about the place and the way in which I grew up, confusions as much about America as about California, misapprehensions and misunderstandings so much a part of who I became that I can still to this day confront them only obliquely. " The book is a haunting narrative of how her own family moved west with the frontier from the birth of her great-great-great-great-great-grandmother in Virginia in 1766 to the death of her mother on the edge of the Pacific in 2001; of how the wagon-train stories of hardship and abandonment and endurance created a culture in which survival would seem the sole virtue. InWhere I Was From,Didion turns what John Leonard has called "her sonar ear, her radar eye" onto her own work, as well as that of such California writers as Frank Norris and Jack London and Henry George, to examine how the folly and recklessness in the very grain of the California settlement led to the California we know today-a state mortgaged first to the railroad, then to the aerospace industry, and overwhelmingly to the federal government, a dependent colony of those political and corporate owners who fly in for the annual encampment of the Bohemian Club. Here is the one writer we always want to read on California showing us the startling contradictions in its-and in America's-core values. Joan Didion's unerring sense of America and its spirit, her acute interpretation of its institutions and literature, and her incisive questioning of the stories it tells itself make this fiercely intelligent book a provocative and important tour de force from one of our greatest writers.
First published in 1979, The White Album is a mosaic of the late sixties and seventies. It includes, among other bizarre artifacts and personalities, the dark journeys and impulses of the Manson family, a Black Panther Party press conference, the story of John Paul Getty's museum, the romance of water in an arid landscape, and the swirl and confusion of the sixties. With commanding sureness of mood and language, Joan Didion exposes the realities and dreams of that age of self-discovery whose spiritual center was California.
Joan Didion explores an intensely personal yet universal experience: 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 she ever had about death, about illness, about marriage and children and memory, about the shallowness of sanity, about life itself.
"This happened on December 30, 2003. That may seem a while ago but it won't when it happens to you ..." In this dramatic adaptation of her award-winning, bestselling memoir (which Michiko Kakutani in The New York Times called "an indelible portrait of loss and grief ... a haunting portrait of a four-decade-long marriage".) Joan Didion transforms the story of the sudden and unexpected loss of her husband and their only daughter into a stunning and powerful one-woman play. The first theatrical production of The Year of Magical Thinking opened at the Booth Theatre on March 29, 2007, starring Vanessa Redgrave and directed by David Hare.