In The Last Love Song, Tracy Daugherty, the critically acclaimed author of Hiding Man (a New York Times Notable book) and Just One Catch, delves deep into the life of distinguished American author and journalist Joan Didion in this, the first biography published about her life. Joan Didion lived a life in the public and private eye with her late husband, writer John Gregory Dunne, whom she met while the two were working in New York City, when Didion was at Vogue and Dunne was writing for Time. They became wildly successful writing partners when they moved to Los Angeles and cowrote screenplays and adaptations together. Didion is well known for her literary journalistic style in both fiction and nonfiction. Some of her most notable work includes Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Run River, and The Year of Magical Thinking, a National Book Award winner shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize. Daugherty takes listeners on a journey back through time, following a young Didion in Sacramento through to her adult life as a writer. Daugherty interviews those who know and knew her personally while maintaining a respectful distance from the reclusive literary great. The Last Love Song reads like fiction; lifelong fans and listeners learning about Didion for the first time will be enthralled with this impressive tribute.
©2015 Tracy Daugherty (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
I started reading the hardcover edition while I was in Florida but did not have enough time to finish it before driving north for the summer. The audiobook held my attention for the entire 1500+ miles. I have been a fan of Didion since Play It As It Lays and was especially touched by The Year of Magical Thinking; this Daugherty biography provides rich context for all the Didion works that were like signposts in my life.
The book wastes too much time summarizing not just her books but her husband's and brother-in-law's books. If someone is reading a biography about a writer they're already familiar with their work. I wanted more about her life. And there were entire sections of the book lifted so directly from Dominick Dunne's Vanity Fair articles that I'm curious if the print book is mostly footnotes.
Forget the naysayers. This marvelous biography perfectly captures Didion and her time. Bernadette Dunne's voice is pitch perfect. Leaves you thirsting to re-read Didion and the Dunne's.
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