From one of our most iconic and influential writers: twelve pieces never before collected that offer an illuminating glimpse into the mind and process of this legendary figure. Mostly drawn from the earliest part of her astonishing five-decade career, Didion writes about a Gamblers Anonymous meeting, a visit to William Randolph Hearst''s castle at San Simeon, a reunion of WWII veterans in Las Vegas, and about topics ranging from Nancy Reagan to Robert Mapplethorpe, Martha Stewart and Ernest Hemingway. With an Introduction by Hilton Als, this stunning collection reveals what would become her subjects: the press, politics, California robber barons, women, the act of writing, and her own self-doubt. Each piece is classic Didion: incisive, bemused, and stunningly prescient.
From one of the most important chroniclers of our time, come two extended excerpts from her never-before-seen notebooks - writings that offer an illuminating glimpse into the mind and process of a legendary writer. Joan Didion has always kept notebooks: of overheard dialogue, observations, interviews, drafts of essays and articles Here is one such draft that traces a road trip she took with her husband, John Gregory Dunne, in June 1970, through Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. She interviews prominent local figures, describes motels, diners, a deserted reptile farm, a visit with Walker Percy, a ladies'' brunch at the Mississippi Broadcasters'' Convention. She writes about the stifling heat, the almost viscous pace of life, the sulfurous light, and the preoccupation with race, class, and heritage she finds in the small towns they pass through. And from a different notebook: the "California Notes" that began as an assignment from Rolling Stone on the Patty Hearst trial of 1976. Though Didion never wrote the piece, watching the trial and being in San Francisco triggered thoughts about the city, its social hierarchy, the Hearsts, and her own upbringing in Sacramento. Here, too, is the beginning of her thinking about the West, its landscape, the western women who were heroic for her, and her own lineage.
'The Year of Magical Thinking' is one of five classic Fourth Estate books to be released as numbered, collectable editions to mark the 25th anniversary. The books will be beautifully produced hardbacks, limited to 2000 copies each, with jackets designed by some of the finest artists at work today.