Joan Didion Survives 'The Year of Magical Thinking'

Author Joan Didion in her Upper East Side apartment in 2003. Credit: Neville Elder/Corbis. i i

hide captionAuthor Joan Didion in her Upper East Side New York apartment in January 2003. Didion has written novels, non-fiction and essays. She is a contributor to the 'New York Review of Books.'

Neville Elder/Corbis
Author Joan Didion in her Upper East Side apartment in 2003. Credit: Neville Elder/Corbis.

Author Joan Didion in her Upper East Side New York apartment in January 2003. Didion has written novels, non-fiction and essays. She is a contributor to the 'New York Review of Books.'

Neville Elder/Corbis
Writers Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne in 2000. Credit: Richard Schulman/CORBIS. i i

hide captionWriters Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne in 2000. 'We were each the person the other trusted,' writes Didion of Dunne.

Richard Schulman/Corbis
Writers Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne in 2000. Credit: Richard Schulman/CORBIS.

Writers Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne in 2000. 'We were each the person the other trusted,' writes Didion of Dunne.

Richard Schulman/Corbis

The Full Interview

Listen to an extended version of the conversation Joan Didion had with NPR's Susan Stamberg. Length: 15 minutes.

Just weeks after her daughter Quintana lapsed into a coma, Joan Didion's husband of nearly 40 years — novelist John Gregory Dunne — suffered a fatal heart attack at their dining room table. Didion's book about their lives together and her life now is called The Year of Magical Thinking. She tells Susan Stamberg how she adjusted to the loss of her husband in 2003 and her daughter two years later.

Didion, the author of five novels and seven books of non-fiction, is also a prolific essayist. She made an early mark with her 1968 collection of essays Slouching Toward Bethlehem. The book, in part, was a personal snapshot of her native California at a time of tremendous change.

The author and her Connecticut-born husband were really New Yorkers at heart. They lived on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

John Gregory Dunne was also a respected author of books and essays. His novel True Confessions, a murder mystery set in Southern California, was eventually made into a 1981 movie. Dunne helped adapt the book for film and used his experience with Hollywood to write two non-fiction books about the movie business, The Studio and Monster.

Books Featured In This Story

The Year of Magical Thinking
The Year of Magical Thinking

by Joan Didion

Hardcover, 227 pages | purchase

close

Purchase Featured Books

  • The Year of Magical Thinking
  • Joan Didion
Nothing Lost
Nothing Lost

A Novel

by John Gregory Dunne

Hardcover, 335 pages | purchase

close

Purchase Featured Books

  • Nothing Lost
  • A Novel
  • John Gregory Dunne

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: