AOT #19: Joan Didion Podcasts The Year of Magical Thinking
Joan Didion discusses her National Book Award-nominated book The Year of Magical Thinking, with author, friend and radio host, Sara Davidson. Joan Didion explores an intensely personal yet universal experience: a portrait of a marriage–and a life, in good times and bad–that will speak to anyone who has ever loved and lost a husband, wife, child, relative or friend. From one of America’s iconic writers, comes 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 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 (she later dies).
This powerful book 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.”
Joan Didion is the author of five novels and seven previous books of nonfiction including Play It As It Lays, Where I Was From, Political Fictions, The Last Thing He Wanted, After Henry, Miami, Democracy, Salvador, A Book of Common Prayer, and Run River.
(The audio for this podcast was furnished courtesy of KGNU radio in Boulder which also broadcast the event.)
($23.95) Knopf ISBN # 140004314X.