South and West: From A Notebook Paperback – 22 March 2018
Frequently bought together
‘Didion at her most fascinatingly unfiltered, recording folksy vernacular at a motel pool, having G & Ts with Walker Percy, and searching fruitlessly for Faulkner’s grave in an Oxford cemetery … her riffs on everything from Gertrude Atherton to crossing the Golden Gate bridge for the first time in three-inch heels captures the thrill of a writer discovering her richest subject: the American mythologies that governed her own romantic girlhood, a yearning for an MGM-style heritage that never really was – a yearning that feels freshly perilous in its delusions.’ Vogue
‘Every era needs better criticism … And so it’s been a relief to read [South and West], investigating the South and its “vertiginous preoccupation with race, class, heritage, style and the absence of style”’ Adam Thirlwell, TLS, Books of the Year
‘Let your heart skip a beat. For here be new writing from the mind behind The Year of Magical Thinking and The White Album – Joan Didion. But this isn’t just for Didionites … For an understanding of certain parts of modern America, it still has eerie resonance … An insight into the process of a writer who can truly be referred to as an icon’ Emerald Street
‘A compelling book ― rooted utterly in a past now all but lost to us, while also incredibly timely and relevant … It bears the hallmarks of Didion’s sparkling prose’ Los Angeles Review of Books
‘You'll learn more about America's future from Didion's 40-year-old field notes than you will from tomorrow's newspaper’ Esquire
‘There’s a universal rule against reading someone else’s diary – but in this case, it’s not just OK, it’s required reading’ Marie Claire
‘The power of Didion’s work is on striking display in this slender volume … Didion’s notes are remarkably polished and slicing; they shimmer with dark implications’ Booklist
‘Here are many of the splendid, sharp-eyed sentences for which [Didion] has long been admired … An almost spectral text haunted by a past that never seems distant’ Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Joan Didion is one of America’s most respected writers, her work constituting some of the greatest portraits of modern-day American culture. Over the four decades of her career, she has produced widely-acclaimed journalistic essays, personal essays, novels, non-fiction, memoir and screenplays. Her memoir The Year of Magical Thinkingwon the National Book Award in 2005.
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter mobile phone number.
- Publisher : Fourth Estate (22 March 2018)
- Language: : English
- Paperback : 160 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0008257205
- ISBN-13 : 978-0008257200
- Item Weight : 110 g
- Dimensions : 12.9 x 1.02 x 19.8 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: #183,773 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Review this product
Top review from India
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Her essays are introspective unlike her fictional works. Don’t get me wrong here, I adore her writing, just that I feel her non-fiction is stronger than fiction. This thin volume contains two pieces: the first, a collection of assembled jottings in her notebook from a road-trip through the South in 1970; the second piece is about the Patty Hearst trial.
The first piece forms the bulk of the book – with details on everything South as they traverse that landscape – from its swimming pools in motels, to meeting regular people, knowing their views on class and racism (nothing has changed since then or so it seems) to the sedentary life lead there. At the same time, her keen eye for detail and candidness, makes you wish there was more to this book and more so to this piece.
Didion makes the South alive for you – every nuance, twitch of the faces of the people she observes and interacts with to the weather (more so important for the South) is pat down to the last nitpicking detail and as a reader you are only too happy for it. At the same time, you also feel that it could very well have been a travelogue (or is it?) with rich descriptions of the landscape and the minor details that are paid attention to.
What struck me about the book the most is that though written in the 70s, it still is so relevant today given the views of the people in the South – where discrimination – racial and classist are taken as the norm and no one seems to object – it was almost as though this were a warning for the times to come with the current President of the United States of America.
The second piece in the book is too brief – it finishes even before you have started reading it which is quite a pity. It is just a collection of notes and sketches (which of course what the entire book is) and nothing else adds to it. In fact, I had to go to Google to know more about the Patty Hearst trial.
All said and done, “South and West: From a Notebook” is a book which perhaps isn’t meant for all – or I don’t even know if it will be enjoyed by all. I wouldn’t recommend it to a beginner to Joan’s works but for someone who is familiar with her writing, you will love it, just as I did, so please pick it up.
Top reviews from other countries