NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A work of stunning frankness about losing a daughter, from the bestselling, award-winning author of The Year of Magical Thinking and Let Me Tell You What I Mean
Richly textured with memories from her own childhood and married life with her husband, John Gregory Dunne, and daughter, Quintana Roo, this new book by Joan Didion is an intensely personal and moving account of her thoughts, fears, and doubts regarding having children, illness and growing old.
As she reflects on her daughter’s life and on her role as a parent, Didion grapples with the candid questions that all parents face, and contemplates her age, something she finds hard to acknowledge, much less accept. Blue Nights—the long, light evening hours that signal the summer solstice, “the opposite of the dying of the brightness, but also its warning”—like The Year of Magical Thinking before it, is an iconic book of incisive and electric honesty, haunting and profound.
Kimberly Farr turns in a solid performance in this audio edition of Didion's haunting memoir of her daughter Quintana Roo's illness and death. The book is a sequel of sorts to Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking about the unexpected death of her husband, John Gregory Dunne and this previous work haunts Blue Nights and helps to guide Farr's narration. A younger woman than the author, Farr's reading often lacks the mournful quality of the text: her narration is simply perkier than Didion's prose. And while Farr does justice to the author's story using the elongation of precisely chosen words to indicate untapped reservoirs of emotion there are times when the reading takes on a tone more appropriate to a less rigorous story of uplift through death. A Knopf hardcover.
I read the excerpt from this book and thought it would be an interesting read from an interesting lady, being unfamiliar with Joan Didion. I did enjoy the book, which I read in one fell swoop. I cannot imagine her loss or pain, but I found that her anguish and pain and possibly her healing came through well in her book. I liked the style of writing also but came away looking for more details, which just aren't there. I will read more of her books in the future.
Lovely. Beautifully written. Moving. Sad. Lovely.
I actually didn't like this book very much, and had to stop reading about 80 pages in. I have no doubt there is profound soul-searching here, which is why I bought it in the first place. But I felt that sincerity obscured by the frequent name dropping and elitist references - things like, "so-and-so made this movie and while on his yacht in the Maldives he took a picture of my daughter in her designer dress while I made martinis in my Chanel suit.". I understand the importance of life context, but I just felt the repetitive overlay of references to their fabulous life made me somewhat unsympathetic. For another grappling with the fatal illness of a loved one, I'd recommend Terry Tempest Williams' Refuge.