National Book Award, Nonfiction, 2005"Life changes fast....You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends." These were among the first words Joan Didion wrote in January 2004. Her daughter was lying unconscious in an intensive care unit, a victim of pneumonia and septic shock. Her husband, John Gregory Dunne, was dead. The night before New Year's Eve, while they were sitting down to dinner, he suffered a massive and fatal coronary. The two had lived and worked side by side for nearly 40 years.
The weeks and months that followed "cut loose any fixed idea I had about death, about illness, about probability and luck...about marriage and children and memory...about the shallowness of sanity, about life itself."
In The Year of Magical Thinking, Didion explores with electric honesty and passion a private yet universal experience. Her portrait of a marriage, and a life, in good times and bad, will speak directly to anyone who has ever loved a husband, a wife, or a child.
Listen to Joan Didion's full-hour interview with Charlie Rose.
©2005 Joan Didion; (P)2005 HighBridge Company
"Many will greet this taut, clear-eyed memoir of grief as a long-awaited return to the terrain of Didion's venerated, increasingly rare personal essays....This is an indispensable addition to Didion's body of work and a lyrical, disciplined entry in the annals of mourning literature." (Publishers Weekly)
"The Year of Magical Thinking is not a downer. On the contrary. Though the material is literally terrible, the writing is exhilarating and what unfolds resembles an adventure narrative." (The New York Times)
Written with all the emotions involved in trying to live with the death of a spouse. And on top of that, dealing with a critically ill daughter. Amazing that the author could write about such traumatic events in her life.
This beautifully written and artfully narrated first person memoir delivered what the title promised: a reflection of truly magical thinking.
I began listening to it as my father lay ill after a long and active life. During the course of my listening, I worked on domestic tasks and painting in my studio. These tasks help me concentrate, and I knew that I needed to concentrate, to learn from Joan...for days ahead.
I finished The Year of Magical Thinking about a week after my dad's funeral and while waiting for my mother to return from a short stay with my sister. By hearing Joan's progress, I feel that I can help my mother begin hers.
An amazing narrative by Joan Didion and the process of grief on her husbands dead. It literally make me change the way I live my life.
The only flaw is the horrible music at the end of each chapter. It totally screws up the narration and the felling of the text.
As a event widow this book made a lot of sense
No one expects the fear and bewilderment that follows a death of your husband but knowing that what you are feeling is to be expected helps
Every sections last couple of minutes are over-dubbed with cheesy music that make it hard to hear the actual text. Boo.
highly recommend. Barbara Caruso does and excellent job narrating. doesn't miss a beat. Joan Didion did an amazing job in writing the story despite the fact she didn't have her husband to assist her with the editing process. just... an amazing book. one of my favorites.
I have listened several times and love this book more each time I listen.
The writing is so lovely, almost lyrical.
Barbara Caruso's performance is wonderful, I can listen to her while driving, walking, or while trying to fall asleep. She has a lovely voice which is ideally matched for this book.
Well researched thrillers Chriton-esque. Nonfiction: Science, medical, biography, "self-help" meta cognitive sub-genre, memoir, philosophy..
In a way. The book lends well to hearing vs. seeing.
Joan Didion of course! This is a memoir of her year. The year after her husband & partner 24/7 of 40 years suddenly died. It is intimate, transparent and very "her." Amazing writing. It is beyond humbling to even consider I could write a review of a book by the author who is largely considered to be the best essayist of a generation.
She does an excellent job with pacing and phrasing. Her tone is true to the content. Impressive. The wrong narrator would create a very poor experience with this book. Caruso was clear and so easy on the ears.
Please no!!! Do not let anyone make a movie of this book!!
A quote nearing the end of Joan's year of "magical thinking" - grief, passion, strength...
".... [the string of lights] burned out - went dead. This served as a symbol. I bought new strings of colored lights. This served as a profession of faith in the future. I take the opportunity for such professing's, where and when, I can invent them, since I do not yet actually feel this faith in the future.I notice I have lost the skills for ordinary social encounters, however undeveloped those skills may have been a year ago."
"The Year of Magical Thinking"
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