Hearing Diane Keaton pronounce tule fog as "tool" fog and Merced as "mers-ed" (emphasis on the first syllable rather than on the last) was a little jarring. Aren't there editors involved to help the readers pronounce the words correctly? Keaton is a good reader for Didion's slightly smug tone here, but those errors were disappointing.
I have long been a fan of Joan Didion and it was _Slouching Toward Bethlehem_ and _The White Album_ that won me over. It had been some time since I read these books, though, so I was looking forward hearing them. I found the experience quite disappointing.
Though I certainly was not impressed by the narrator, I can't actually blame her. It's just that some things are far more suited to reading than listening to, and this is one of them. You just don't focus on an audio book the same way you focus on a "printed" (electronic or dead tree format) page.
It's also true that some of the essays have aged very badly, most especially the title essay. Or maybe my perspective has changed. Perhaps society isn't less atomized in 2013 then it was in 1979 when I first encountered these books; perhaps I'm just used to it and unimpressed, thought it certainly seems less atomized.
What's aged well? "Goodbye to All That" (AKA: Farewell to the Enchanted City) is worth the price of admission for its poignant tale of staying to long at the fair. "Los Angelas Notebook" still holds up. "Comrade Laski, P.P.U.S.A. (M.-L.)" seems quite a familiar charactor, anymore. "On Morality" is still worth listening to. In general, the second half of the book retains it's interest far better than the first.
I'm sorry to have to give this audiobook a low rating. I would still buy a Kindle (printed) version.
I am a fan of Joan Didion & am very pleased that so much of her work is available on Audible.
Diane Keaton does such a bad job. Her voice is slurry and laconic, through a lot of passages she sounds bored. The entire Hawaii essay is read as if by a person being forced to do it. She gets lost in sentences, she reads with no real interest. It's droney and to be honest I found my mind wandering through much of her reading.
If you would like to hear Joan Didion read by an accomplished narrator, check out the White Album, the reader there gives one of the best performances I've ever heard on Audible.
I loved these essays when I first read them in the 70s and was happy to hear them again.
Pretty much everything. She mispronounces a LOT of words and it becomes insulting to the material and the listener.
Absolutely. This is requisite reading for Americans, especially those of us who weren't alive at the time Didion wrote Slouching. It captures a cultural movement.
Keaton has a recognizable voice and it flowed very naturally. She captured Didion's tone perfectly.
A film would never be able to do this book justice.
I bought this book having grown up in the area. I thought it would be interesting. It is but some on the stories just dragged. I still very much enjoyed the book overall especially Diane Keaton did a wonderful performance
Yes. She is a good writer.
Walk down memory lane for me.
Fairly interesting and insightful. She has a good grasp of the zeitgeist of the 60's.
One of the best audiobooks I've listened to so far
Varied subjects from the point of view of a young Didion.
No. That's the first one, but I've seen many of her films and didn't like her that much.
The John Wayne article. I agree one hundred per cent, but couldn't have written it. Didion express my feelings in an elegant and sharp way.
A classic for its contents and performance. Didion is a gifted writer but and inarticulated speaker. Keaton as her 'alter ego' gives her what she lacks.
quite by chance i seem to have downloaded three readings that sport a uniform cover design, and this one turns out to be pretty much as i imagine joan didion to sound. there's always a certain pretentiousness to her writing, where you think, what's all this verbiage for? keaton understands what she's reading, she slips into the text, as if she's actually written all this stuff herself, and yet manages to make it sound charming, rather than alienate me the listener. this is good, it's great, you could even just play it as background noise, it'd still be pleasant to the ear.