26 July 2013

Blue Nights, by Joan Didion

I loved The Year of Magical Thinking, so I was looking forward to Blue Nights, morbid as that sounds. It's hard to critique this book without feeling like a jerk, because she's obviously tackling very difficult topics (the death of her daughter, her own increasingly poor health), but the fact is, it's just not as good of a book. It's scattered and fragmentary, without a strong thread running through to link the parts together. The voice is timid; Didion's trademark brevity comes across as incomplete thoughts rather than controlled prose condensed into hard nuggets of insight. The stories about her daughter -- more specifically, about her daughter's adoption -- are interesting, but they also seem almost still too personal.  Overall, it reads more like material for a book than a finished product. Not her finest work.

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