East Coastians would likely balk at the term “California literature” as being an oxymoron. And yet, that’s precisely what Joan Didion carved out for herself as a genre. Yes, there were others who had written about California before her—John Steinbeck and Nathanael West come to mind (even Raymond Chandler, for the less hoity-toity)—and all just as negatively through the guise of “poetic darkness.” But none … Continue reading Is It the End or the Beginning of California Literature Now?
In an alternate universe, perhaps Joan Didion herself might have become some version of Lily Knight, the dissatisfied, cuckolding Sacramento girl who couldn’t seem to fathom how to be a good wife to the man who loved her. Without her writing talent as a ticket out of town, Didion could have easily become just another Golden State tragedy, damned to a lifetime of complacence and … Continue reading The Abandonment of California by Joan Didion: A Comparative Glance at Run River and Where I Was From