Precise essayist, poignant novelist, mother, and notable badass, Joan Didion is one of the most celebrated authors of her generation. Her voice is so fresh that she’s become an essential American cultural figure, particularly since the release of Slouching Towards Bethlehem. The book is a personal account of the hippie movement in the San Franciscan neighbourhood of Haight Ashbury. Her cult following has since grown and intensified since. Hers is the voice of a generation, and an incredible Netflix documentary about her life was released back in October of 2017. Check out the trailer below.
Just from the trailer, you can see the author speaking candidly about her various life experiences. We are given a glimpse into her life following the very difficult tragedy she experienced in losing her husband and daughter within a year and a half of each other. A Year of Magical Thinking won the National Book Award for nonfiction, and it’s a must for anyone in grief. In Didion’s words: “Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.” Didion speaks about her daughter’s death in her 2011 book, Blue Nights.
Joan Didion: The Center Cannot Hold is an intimate, affectionate portrait of a life made by Didion’s nephew, Griffin Dunne. Of his aunt, he said to Vanity Fair, “I asked her and from the moment she said yes, I said oh boy, I’m in for it now. This person means a lot to a lot of people.”
Joan Didion is best known for her years spent narrating some of the biggest moments in recent American history—1960s San Francisco, the Manson Murders, etc. Didion explores the disintegration of American morals and descent into cultural chaos.
Today, Didion, who is now 83-years-old, continues to write and has just published another nonfiction novel called South and West: From a Notebook, which is based on notes she took while travelling in Alabama and Mississippi in the 1970s.
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