South and West: From a Notebook

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From the best-selling author of the National Book Award-winning The Year of Magical Thinking: two extended excerpts from her never-before-seen notebooks--writings that offer an illuminating glimpse into the mind and process of a legendary writer.

Joan Didion has always kept notebooks: of overheard dialogue, observations, interviews, drafts of essays and articles--and here is one such draft that traces a road trip she took with her husband, John Gregory Dunne, in June 1970, through Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. She interviews prominent local figures, describes motels, diners, a deserted reptile farm, a visit with Walker Percy, a ladies' brunch at the Mississippi Broadcasters' Convention. She writes about the stifling heat, the almost viscous pace of life, the sulfurous light, and the preoccupation with race, class, and heritage she finds in the small towns they pass through. And from a different notebook: the "California Notes" that began as an assignment from Rolling Stone on the Patty Hearst trial of 1976. Though Didion never wrote the piece, watching the trial and being in San Francisco triggered thoughts about the city, its social hierarchy, the Hearsts, and her own upbringing in Sacramento. Here, too, is the beginning of her thinking about the West, its landscape, the western women who were heroic for her, and her own lineage, all of which would appear later in her acclaimed 2003 book, Where I Was From.

 
One of TIME’s most anticipated books of 2017
 
One of The New York Times Book Review's “What You’ll Be Reading in 2017”

Incldued among the Best Books of March 2017 by both LitHub and Signature
 

 
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About the author

JOAN DIDION is the author of five novels and nine books of nonfiction, including The Year of Magical Thinking and Blue Nights. Her collected nonfiction, We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live, was published by Everyman's Library in 2006. Born in Sacramento, California, Didion now lives in New York City.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Vintage
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Published on
Mar 7, 2017
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Pages
144
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ISBN
9781524732806
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Literary
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Literary Collections / Essays
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Joan Didion
Joan Didion
In this moving and unexpected book, Joan Didion reassesses parts of her life, her work, her history, and ours. Where I Was From, in Didion’s words, “represents an exploration into my own confusions about the place and the way in which I grew up, confusions as much about America as about California, misapprehensions and misunderstandings so much a part of who I became that I can still to this day confront them only obliquely.” The book is a haunting narrative of how her own family moved west with the frontier from the birth of her great-great-great-great-great-grandmother in Virginia in 1766 to the death of her mother on the edge of the Pacific in 2001; of how the wagon-train stories of hardship and abandonment and endurance created a culture in which survival would seem the sole virtue.

In Where I Was From, Didion turns what John Leonard has called “her sonar ear, her radar eye” onto her own work, as well as that of such California writers as Frank Norris and Jack London and Henry George, to examine how the folly and recklessness in the very grain of the California settlement led to the California we know today–a state mortgaged first to the railroad, then to the aerospace industry, and overwhelmingly to the federal government, a dependent colony of those political and corporate owners who fly in for the annual encampment of the
Bohemian Club. Here is the one writer we always want to read on California showing us the startling contradictions in its–and in America’s–core values.

Joan Didion’s unerring sense of America and its spirit, her acute interpretation of its institutions and literature, and her incisive questioning of the stories it tells itself make this fiercely intelligent book a provocative and important tour de force from one of our greatest writers.





From the Hardcover edition.
Joan Didion
An extraordinary report on the aftermath of the 1960s in America by the New York Times–bestselling author of South and West and Slouching Towards Bethlehem.

In this landmark essay collection, Joan Didion brilliantly interweaves her own “bad dreams” with those of a nation confronting the dark underside of 1960s counterculture.
 
From a jailhouse visit to Black Panther Party cofounder Huey Newton to witnessing First Lady of California Nancy Reagan pretend to pick flowers for the benefit of news cameras, Didion captures the paranoia and absurdity of the era with her signature blend of irony and insight. She takes readers to the “giddily splendid” Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the cool mountains of Bogotá, and the Jordanian Desert, where Bishop James Pike went to walk in Jesus’s footsteps—and died not far from his rented Ford Cortina. She anatomizes the culture of shopping malls—“toy garden cities in which no one lives but everyone consumes”—and exposes the contradictions and compromises of the women’s movement. In the iconic title essay, she documents her uneasy state of mind during the years leading up to and following the Manson murders—a terrifying crime that, in her memory, surprised no one.
 
Written in “a voice like no other in contemporary journalism,” The White Album is a masterpiece of literary reportage and a fearless work of autobiography by the National Book Award–winning author of The Year of Magical Thinking (The New York Times Book Review). Its power to electrify and inform remains undiminished nearly forty years after it was first published.

 
Joan Didion
Joan Didion
De la autora de El año del pensamiento mágico, una novela perturbadora sobre la realidad de ser mujer. Un clásico de la literatura norteamericana.

A sus treinta años, Maria Wyeth se encuentra emocionalmente a la deriva y ajena a todo lo que la rodea. Su carrera de actriz se ha limitado a papeles en películas de tercera y siempre ha vivido a la sombra de su marido, un reconocido director de Hollywood que nunca le ha permitido tomar sus propias decisiones con respecto a su hija de cuatro años, recluida en un centro médico para niños con necesidades especiales, ni con respecto a su nuevo embarazo.

Con una mirada implacable y una voz inconfundible, Didion disecciona sin contemplaciones la sociedad estadounidense de finales de los años sesenta, explorando por un lado la realidad de ser mujer en una sociedad en la que siempre han prevalecido las necesidades masculinas y, por otro, capturando el estado de ánimo de toda una generación que vive bajo el engaño de las apariencias, la amoralidad, las consecuencias del liberalismo extremo y el hastío generalizado del individuo contemporáneo.

Incluida por la revista Time en su lista de las mejores cien novelas en lengua inglesa publicadas entre 1923 y 2005, Según venga el juego está considerada, después de más de cuatro décadas desde su publicación, un clásico moderno de las letras norteamericanas y una de las mejores novelas de Joan Didion.

Críticas:
«No ha habido otro escritor norteamericano con el nivel de Joan Didion desde Nathanael West. [...] Un libro espectacular.»
John Leonard, The New York Times

«Sencillo, comedido, inteligente, bien estructurado, ocurrente, irresistiblemente implacable, punzante y libre de sensacionalismos. Según venga el juego es un libro sobresaliente y de una excepcional calidad literaria.»
Library Journal

«Una novela mordaz que destila veneno en gotas minúsculas.»
J.R. Frakes, Book World

Joan Didion
An astonishing account of Cuban exiles, CIA informants, and cocaine traffickers in Florida by the New York Times–bestselling author of South and West.

In Miami, the National Book Award–winning author of The Year of Magical Thinking looks beyond postcard images of fluorescent waters, backlit islands, and pastel architecture to explore the murkier waters of a city on the edge.
 
From Fidel Castro and the Bay of Pigs invasion to Lee Harvey Oswald and the Kennedy assassination to Oliver North and the Iran–Contra affair, Joan Didion uncovers political intrigues and shadowy underworld connections, and documents the US government’s “seduction and betrayal” of the Cuban exile community in Dade County. She writes of hotels that offer “guerrilla discounts,” gun shops that advertise Father’s Day deals, and a real-estate market where “Unusual Security and Ready Access to the Ocean” are perks for wealthy homeowners looking to make a quick escape. With a booming drug trade, staggering racial and class inequities, and skyrocketing murder rates, Miami in the 1980s felt more like a Third World capital than a modern American city. Didion describes the violence, passion, and paranoia of these troubled times in arresting detail and “beautifully evocative prose” (The New York Times Book Review).
 
A vital report on an immigrant community traumatized by broken dreams and the cynicism of US foreign policy, Miami is a masterwork of literary journalism whose insights are timelier and more important than ever.

 
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