Twelve early pieces never before collected that offer an illuminating glimpse into the mind and process of Joan Didion.
Mostly drawn from the earliest part of her astonishing five-decade career, the wide-ranging pieces in this collection include Didion writing about a Gamblers Anonymous meeting, a visit to San Simeon, and a reunion of WWII veterans in Las Vegas, and about topics ranging from Nancy Reagan to Robert Mapplethorpe to Martha Stewart.
Here are subjects Didion has long written about - the press, politics, California robber baronsac, women, the act of writing, and her own self-doubt. Each piece is classic Didion: incisive and, in new light, stunningly prescient.
An engrossing examination of political and personal life in Central America, from the award-winning author of The Year of Magical Thinking. Writing with the economical swiftness and concentrated perception that has made her one of America''s most distinguished writers, Joan Didion creates a gleaming novel of innocence and evil. Set in the ruined Central American nation of Boca Grande, A Book of Common Prayer is the story of two American women and their conflicting experiences of wealth, politics and personal history. We follow the intriguing life of Grace Strasser-Mendana - an American expatriate and member of one of Boca Grande''s most influential families - alongside the story of Charlotte Douglas, whose daughter Medin has run off with a group of Marxist radicals. What follows is an exploration of the women''s ability to make sense of the behaviour that surrounds them, as their worlds are made hazy by the atmosphere of evil and innocence that envelops their strained and entangled lives. Writing with her inimitable mix of candid emotional frankness and razor-sharp political astuteness, Joan Didion''s third novel is at once utterly particular whilst emblematic of an age of unscrupulous authority and seemingly inevitable bloodshed.
From one of the most important chroniclers of our time, come two extended excerpts from her never-before-seen notebooks - writings that offer an illuminating glimpse into the mind and process of a legendary writer. Joan Didion has always kept notebooks: of overheard dialogue, observations, interviews, drafts of essays and articles Here is one such draft that traces a road trip she took with her husband, John Gregory Dunne, in June 1970, through Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. She interviews prominent local figures, describes motels, diners, a deserted reptile farm, a visit with Walker Percy, a ladies'' brunch at the Mississippi Broadcasters'' Convention. She writes about the stifling heat, the almost viscous pace of life, the sulfurous light, and the preoccupation with race, class, and heritage she finds in the small towns they pass through. And from a different notebook: the "California Notes" that began as an assignment from Rolling Stone on the Patty Hearst trial of 1976. Though Didion never wrote the piece, watching the trial and being in San Francisco triggered thoughts about the city, its social hierarchy, the Hearsts, and her own upbringing in Sacramento. Here, too, is the beginning of her thinking about the West, its landscape, the western women who were heroic for her, and her own lineage.
A thrilling and exhilarating exploration of U.S. politics in Central America from Joan Didion, the hugely acclaimed author of The Year of Magical Thinking. It is 1984. Journalist Elena McMahon, watching her evasive, gruff father''s life ebbing away before her, clutches at understanding him to grasp little more than air. But harder, keener forces impel her to do his bidding, to go naked into a ''situation'' in Central America, because ''things were hotting up again''.
Joan Didion''s hugely influential collection of essays which defines, for many, the America which rose from the ashes of the Sixties. We tell ourselves stories in order to live. The princess is caged in the consulate. The man with the candy will lead the children into the sea. In this now legendary journey into the hinterland of the American psyche, Didion searches for stories as the Sixties implode. She waits for Jim Morrison to show up, visits the Black Panthers in prison, parties with Janis Joplin and buys dresses with Charles Manson''s girls. She and her reader emerge, cauterized, from this devastating tour of that age of self discovery into the harsh light of the morning after.
A profoundly disturbing novel that ruthlessly dissects American life in the late 1960s, from the author of The White Album and The Year of Magical Thinking . Benny called for a round of Cuba Libres and I gave him some chips to play for me and went to the ladies'' room and never came back. Somewhere out beyond Hollywood, hollowed-out actress Maria Wyeth''s life plays out in a numbing routine of perpetual freeway driving. In her early thirties, divorced from her husband, dislocated from friends, anesthetized to pain and please, Wheth is a woman who has run out of both desires and motives - the epitome of a generation made ill by too much freedom.
'The Year of Magical Thinking' is one of five classic Fourth Estate books to be released as numbered, collectable editions to mark the 25th anniversary. The books will be beautifully produced hardbacks, limited to 2000 copies each, with jackets designed by some of the finest artists at work today.