The Year of Magical Thinking Paperback – 4 September 2006
|Paperback, 4 September 2006||
‘It is the most awesome performance of both participating in, and watching, an event. Even though Didion does not allow herself to break down, only a terribly controlled reader will resist doing the same.’ John Freeman, Independent
‘Ultimately, and unexpectedly for a book about illness and death, this is a wonderfully life affirming book.’ Lisa O’Kelly, Observer
‘Searing, informative and affecting. Don’t leave life without it.’ Financial Times
‘This is a beautiful and devastating book by one of the finest writers we have. Didion has always been a precise, humane and meticulously truthful writer, but on the subject of death she becomes essential.’ Zadie Smith
‘Taking the reader to places where they would not otherwise go is one of the things a really good book can do. “The Year of Magical Thinking” does just that, and brilliantly. Powerful, moving and true.’ Cressida Connolly, Spectator
‘A great book, a great work. Angular, exact, pressured and tough, precise as a diamond drill bit.’ Nick Laird
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.
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- Publisher : Fourth Estate (4 September 2006)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 240 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0007216858
- ISBN-13 : 978-0007216857
- Item Weight : 170 g
- Dimensions : 12.9 x 1.5 x 19.8 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: #186,108 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from India
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Laura's Review (Hers):
I enjoyed this book, as much as a book about grief can be enjoyed. Ms. Didion skillfully articulated her feelings and thoughts after the sudden death of her husband and during her daughter's illness. Having recently lost a brother I was able to connect deeply with many of her thoughts, particularly the magical thinking she describes. It's not often that I read a book and think "oh my gosh, that's EXACTLY how I've felt" but this book did that for me. Ms. Didion helped me be able to articulate my own thoughts at times when I couldn't begin to articulate them myself.
I applaud Ms. Didion's willingness and ability to put herself out in public view in such a raw, vulnerable way. Death of a loved one is, I believe, a deeply personal experience and I can't imagine sharing my innermost vulnerabilities and thought processes with the public. Perhaps doing so was cathartic for Ms. Didion; I don't know. I do know, however, that it takes a great deal of courage to do so.
Some reviewers have criticized the book for its representation of the privileged life Ms. Didion lives. While I agree that there are numerous references to events and experiences that many people will never have, I don't fault her for that. She wrote this book from her own perspective, from her own viewpoint, and as such she presented her life honestly. I respect a person who is not apologetic for having had such opportunities.
I recommend this book. While it is not a happy read, it is evocative and beautifully written.
Rob's Review (His):
Seldom is a topic of such keen and personal import brought to the page with this much skill and candor. Didion lays bare her soul as she deals with the sudden death of her husband in a year that finds her experiencing all the phases of grief in textbook fashion. The Year should be required reading for anyone dealing with loss if for no other reason than to allow the reader the knowledge that grieving is a universal, expected and normal reaction to loss.
The only factor which leaves it dangling at less than a five-star rating for me is that it's not all that personally relatable. I appreciate endlessly her skill and honesty in this work but never having had the experience she describes it fails to resonate with me. I empathize greatly and appreciate her retelling of this period in her life but there are no points at which I can pin my story to her own. As such, it is an interesting museum piece, a fragment of someone else's life, but not something I can currently internalize.
Top reviews from other countries
Despite these weasel words, read it anyway.
We are immediately told about the death of the author's husband - a description which could give the comfort of a shared experience to some people and a rehearsal of the future for others.
The author writes well and is very natural. There is no doubting that the topic is very worthy but I felt that she was writing for herself rather than the reader which is always a difficult balance to negotiate. I didn't feel involved with the book although acknowledge that, had I experienced anything like this, others may feel very differently.