The Year of Magical Thinking was the second book I read by Joan Didion after Blue Nights. Some time ago I watched the documentary Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold, and I once again admired Didion. If you don’t know who she is, you are missing a lot.
Didion wrote The Year of Magical Thinking after losing her husband of forty years. Reading it will break your heart and will most probably scare you a little bit. If you have a partner that you care about in your life and you have been together for a long time, you will struggle while reading The Year of Magical Thinking. However, it is worth every second.
I read The Year of Magical Thinking in the silence of the night after everyone went to sleep. Sometimes I looked at my husband lying next to me, and I found myself praying, sometimes I cried, and most of the time, I left the book and thought about life. After trying to play my mind to get away from the idea of losing loved ones, I wondered what a great writer Didion was. Read Didion, read The Year of Magical Thinking. You will never regret it.
The Year of Magical Thinking
The Year of Magical Thinking: From one of America’s iconic writers, 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.The Year of Magical Thinking is a stunning book of electric honesty and passion.
Several days before Christmas 2003, John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion saw their only daughter, Quintana, fall ill. At first they thought it was flu, then pneumonia, then complete sceptic 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 suffered a massive and fatal coronary. In a second, this close, symbiotic partnership of 40 years was over. Four weeks later, their daughter pulled through. Two months after that, arriving at LA airport, she collapsed and underwent six hours of brain surgery at UCLA Medical Centre to relieve a massive hematoma.
The Year of Magical Thinking 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’. The result is an exploration of an intensely personal yet universal experience: a portrait of a marriage, and a life, in good times and bad.
Joan Didion, (born December 5, 1934, Sacramento, California, U.S.), American novelist and essayist known for her lucid prose style and incisive depictions of social unrest and psychological fragmentation.
Didion graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1956 and then worked for Vogue magazine from 1956 to 1963, first as a copywriter and later as an editor. During this period she wrote her first novel, Run River (1963), which examines the disintegration of a California family. While in New York City, she met and married writer John Gregory Dunne, with whom she returned to California in 1964.
A collection of magazine columns published as Slouching Towards Bethlehem (1968) established Didion’s reputation as an essayist and confirmed her preoccupation with the forces of disorder. In a second collection, The White Album (1979), Didion continued her analysis of the turbulent 1960s. The inner decay of the Establishment is a major theme of the essays constituting the volume After Henry (1992; also published as Sentimental Journeys).
Other works by Didion included the short novels Play It as It Lays (1970), A Book of Common Prayer (1977), Democracy (1984), and The Last Thing He Wanted (1996; film 2020) and the essays Salvador (1983), Miami (1987), and Where I Was From (2003). Essays on U.S. politics, including the presidential election of 2000, were collected in Political Fictions (2001). Didion also wrote screenplays with her husband, including Panic in Needle Park (1971), Play It as It Lays (1972; an adaptation of her novel), A Star Is Born (1976; with others), True Confessions (1981), and Up Close and Personal (1996).
Following Dunne’s death in 2003, she wrote The Year of Magical Thinking (2005), in which she recounted their marriage and mourned his loss. The memoir won a National Book Award, and Didion adapted it for the stage in 2007. She again visited tragedy and loss in Blue Nights (2011), a memoir in which she attempted to come to terms with the death of her daughter.
South and West (2017) contains two unpublished excerpts from her notebooks, with the main piece describing a road trip Didion took through the American South in 1970. Let Me Tell You What I Mean (2021) is a collection of previously released essays. Didion was honoured with the National Humanities Medal in 2013. Her life and career were the focus of the documentary Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold (2017).
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: