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Friday, October 26, 2012

The Year of Magical Thinking and Blue Nights

I whipped through these books--one day per book.  It was quite a feat, I tell you...except not, because I read fast and they were good.  Since Blue Nights is sort of a follow-up to The Year of Magical Thinking, I opted for a double blog post for your reading pleasure.

Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking chronicles the year and a day immediately following her husband's unexpected death due to cardiac arrest.  They were simply about to have dinner with venerated novelist John Gregory Dunne fell over face first.  In the year that follows, Didion must face her grief and begin to mourn.  She is forced to discover how to live without her constant companion, her shared brain, and her best friend.  It is by far the most difficult year of her life and in this book she bares her soul for her readers.

Blue Nights is Didion's most recent book that chronicles her pain as she deals with her daughter's death just a year and change after that of her husband as chronicled above.  Quintana Roo is the only child of Didion and Dunne, and in Year we hear so many stories of her childhood and we follow Didion through Quintana's illnesses.  In Blue Nights, she succumbs to them.

Both of these books were fantastic--soul-baring and heart-breaking and lovely and overwhelming in grief.  Didion takes her experiences and puts them into words that are searing and honest.  I have to be truthful with you readers and tell you how lucky I am that I have lost very few people close to me in death, so reading Didion's description of her grief really got to me and struck me in my heart.

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