Books by Joan Didion

Joan Didion was born in Sacramento, California and graduated with a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley. She has been a novelist, essayist and screenwriter for more than three decades and was awarded the 1996 Edward MacDowell Medal and the


BLUE NIGHTS by Joan Didion
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 1, 2011

"A slim, somber classic."
Didion (We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live: Collected Nonfiction, 2006, etc.) delivers a second masterpiece on grief, considering both her daughter's death and her inevitable own. Read full book review >
THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING by Joan Didion
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 19, 2005

"A potent depiction of grief, but also a book lacking the originality and acerbic prose that distinguished Didion's earlier writing."
A moving record of Didion's effort to survive the death of her husband and the near-fatal illness of her only daughter. Read full book review >
WHERE I WAS FROM by Joan Didion
HISTORY
Released: Sept. 29, 2003

"Demonstrates how very thin is the gilt on the Golden State."
With humor, history, nostalgia, and acerbity, Didion (Political Fictions, 2001, etc.) considers the conundrums of California, her beloved home state. Read full book review >
POLITICAL FICTIONS by Joan Didion
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Sept. 18, 2001

"Didion's vision is like a searchlight that throws light into dark corners while leaving other areas inexplicably unilluminated. "
Blindingly brilliant—and sometimes just blind—pieces covering a dozen years (1988–2000) of American politics, all originally published in The New York Review of Books. Read full book review >
THE LAST THING HE WANTED by Joan Didion
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 1, 1996

"A pinched narrative sacrifices the pleasures of conventional character development, with Didion opting instead for a convoluted and over-the-top exploration of political skullduggery."
Didion's fifth novel (Democracy, 1984, etc.) is further proof that she's a better journalist than novelist. Read full book review >
AFTER HENRY by Joan Didion
Released: May 1, 1992

"A collection to savor by a stylist in top form."
Didion's latest collection of previously published articles—her first since The White Album (1979)—reminds us that she's truly one of the premier essayists of our time. Read full book review >
MIAMI by Joan Didion
HISTORY
Released: Oct. 9, 1987

"Another presistently stylish report that, with its JFK references and drug-runner allusions, has even more outreach than usual."
Not unexpectedly, and with customary flair, Didion ignores the traditional features of Miami, looks briefly at tense race relations, white flight, and a saturated real-estate market, and concentrates on a kind of second city, the community of Cuban exiles who have prospered even as they pursue la lucha, the straggle. Read full book review >
DEMOCRACY by Joan Didion
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 25, 1984

"And if the book-world's hype machine can make a major novel out of Renata Adler's Pitch Dark, it can certainly do as much for this more accessible, more political, but quite similar arrival: a chic literary objet with a thin soap-opera center."
"Fitful glimpses" from the 1960s/'70s life of glamorous Inez Christian Victor—wife of Senator Harry Victor (a onetime Presidential aspirant), daughter of Honolulu colonial aristocracy, and supposed acquaintance of writer Joan Didion, who sprinkles this short, glossily disjointed novel with precious authorial warnings, asides, and false starts. Read full book review >
SALVADOR by Joan Didion
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: March 28, 1983

Anyone who has read accounts of Nazi Germany or Stalin's Russia or junta-ruled Argentina (Uruguay, Chile, Bolivia) will recognize the "mechanisms of terror" Didion and her husband John Gregory Dunne found on a two-week visit to El Salvador in June 1982. Read full book review >
A BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER by Joan Didion
Released: March 1, 1977

"Que sera, this has the same frayed, seductive quality as the earlier novel and it will connect again, one to one, one to many."
More sad songs—replay them as they lay—in the shimmering oblivion of empty glasses down in Boca Grande (Central America) where Charlotte, another Maria, comes to stay before she is killed. Read full book review >
PLAY IT AS IT LAYS by Joan Didion
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 13, 1970

"But even though you have every reason to suspect that this is an ephemeral form of survival kit-sch under its sophisticated maquillage, you won't be impervious."
"If you can't deal with the morning, get out of the game." Read full book review >
SLOUCHING TOWARDS BETHLEHEM by Joan Didion
RELIGION
Released: May 10, 1968

"Miss Didion is no female Tom Wolfe but she is a talented scene surveyor who will find her own audience."
The title embodies the peculiar threat of Yeats' The Second Coming after a time when "Things fall apart; the center cannot hold": and in this series of twenty essays, many of them previously published magazine articles, the author is an adroit chronicler of many of today's maladies. Read full book review >
RUN RIVER by Joan Didion
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 15, 1963

"The faintly incestuous family relationships; the bourbon; the sex down on the levee; and the soft singsong of "baby" and "Everett baby"."
From the time when Everett McClellan kills Ryder Channing, his wife Lily's latest lover, this reviews the earlier personal history which led to this one finite, unnecessary gesture. Read full book review >