Joan Didion on “Blue Nights”

Joan Didion on “Blue Nights”
Joan Didion talks to Steve Paulson about her new book, “Blue Nights,” which explores her thoughts about children, illness and growing old in the wake of the death of her daughter, Quintana.

“I was afraid of … unexplained fevers”

3:39 “I had this very strong sense of being handed out of the blue this perfect child

4:58 “Personal failure … everybody in the story as it was fails to do what they wish they could do” “but doesn’t everybody feels of themselves to be a failure at some level?”

6:10 “It’s an entirely different tone from Magical Thinking, which was very easy to write”

8:00 “No matter how much we think we are on top of our own aging process, most of us really aren’t”

8:40 “I no longer want reminders of what was, what got broken, what got lost, what got wasted”

Sorrowful ‘Blue Nights’ (audio)
by Susan Stamberg
November 01, 2011

Joan Didion’s “Blue Nights”
November 3, 2011

In “The Year of Magical Thinking” Didion confessed, if that is the word, that “even as a child, long before what I wrote began to be published, I developed a sense that meaning itself was resident in the rhythms of words and sentences and paragraphs, a technique for withholding whatever it was I thought or believed behind an increasingly impenetrable polish.”
With the death of her husband, however, she needed “more than words to find the meaning.”

“You have your wonderful memories,” people tell her mother, but her mother knows better: “Memories are what you no longer want to remember.”

Quintana’s Story
Joan Didion’s Blue Nights isn’t about grieving for her daughter. It’s about a mother’s regrets.
By Meghan O’Rourke
Nov. 23, 2011

milky vision that characterize the late works of great writers

The book instead bears harsh witness to the realization that the past can never be fixed (a realization many parents must at some point confront).

Indeed, it’s Didion’s keen eye for the contradictions in our cultural myths that has made her one of America’s greatest writers.

as Didion puts it, “you think the end of day will never come.” This fantasy is the true subject of Blue Nights, which speaks powerfully about the illusion that each of us might somehow escape death or cheat time.

Joan_Didion_videoDidion’s ‘Blue Nights’
Oct 26, 2011

An exclusive clip from Joan Didion’s nephew Griffin Dunne’s mesmerizing film of the writer reading from Blue Nights and sharing glimpses of her life.



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