From one of our most powerful writers, a work of stunning frankness about losing a daughter. Richly textured with bits of her own childhood and married life with her husband, John Gregory Dunne, and daughter, Quintana Roo, this new book by Joan Didion examines her thoughts, fears, and doubts regarding having children, illness, and growing old.
Blue Nights opens on July 26, 2010, as Didion thinks back to Quintana’s wedding in New York seven years before. Today would be her wedding anniversary. This fact triggers vivid snapshots of Quintana’s childhood—in Malibu, in Brentwood, at school in Holmby Hills. Reflecting on her daughter but also on her role as a parent, Didion asks the candid questions any parent might about how she feels she failed, either because cues were not taken or perhaps displaced. “How could I have missed what was clearly there to be seen?” Finally, perhaps we all remain unknown to each other. Seamlessly woven in are incidents Didion sees as underscoring her own age, something she finds hard to acknowledge, much less accept.
Blue Nights—the long, light evening hours that signal the summer solstice, “the opposite of the dying of the brightness, but also its warning”—like The Year of Magical Thinking before it, is an iconic book of incisive and electric honesty, haunting and profoundly moving.
©2011 Joan Didion (P)2011 Random House
Bookman Old Style
As a screenwriter, Joan Didion and her husband wrote the script for "Play it as it Lays." As a widow, she tells it like it is in her memoir of loss and aging, "Blue Nights." This is not an easy book to read, and not for those who decry negative thinking and believe in the magic of medicine. Didion knows better, and in her spare, carefully chosen words describes the process of unrecoverable diminishment and death in a way no one else has dared. No sentimentality, no upbeat insistence, just the truth. Those who enjoyed Didion in her prime, and in theirs, will find that this book speaks to them with stunning honesty.
Teacher, bookworm, aspiring ninja. What else is there?
Didion's memories of her daughter through the years-- different, specific moments-- and the way she linked them together, really made this a heartbreaking read. I love Didion anyway; having been introduced to her in grad school, I have greedily sucked in just about everything she's written, I put this on my Wish List as soon as I saw that it was due to be published. There isn't a single moment that sticks out to me. This is just a beautiful memorial to Quintana Roo.
The memory of what Quintana wore for her wedding was a great one. I like how she returned to it several times.
I had to keep myself from crying, mostly. I knew how it was going to end. . . I wonder how long it took Didion to write this.
If you haven't read The Year of Magical Thinking yet, I recommend that one before this. And if you've never read anything else by Didion, do that, too. You won't be sorry. Her way with words will leave you breathless.
The timeline was very confusing...back and forth between childhood and her daughter as an adult seemed very choppy and disorganized.
I did not expect this to be like a journal entry about what it feels like to experience great loss
Not enough time had passed since the incident for the author to synthesize the event and help the reader get to a deeper understanding.
Performance was ok
There really are not "characters". It's a recap of lives and not memorable
Huge disappointment. I'm sorry for the author's loss. But I did not enjoy this book at all.
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