This Ain’t Joan Didion’s Sacramento (And It Never Was)

Is there a chance that California’s capital is crying out in some way for its dead daughter? The only so-called “high-value star” of its show? Is that why the town—usually referenced solely as a footnote to where Didion is from—is now only being mentioned on an international scale for serving as the site of a second mass shooting in the span of a month? It’s … Continue reading This Ain’t Joan Didion’s Sacramento (And It Never Was)

Is It the End or the Beginning of California Literature Now?

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?

Joan Didion Knows Where to Cut: Plucking Flowers With “Pretty Nancy”

The excitement surrounding Joan Didion’s release of a “new” book called Let Me Tell You What I Mean needn’t be mitigated by the fact that it is a collection of older essays (previously unreleased, therefore everything old is new again), gathered from 1968 to 2000. For Didion is perhaps at her most signaturely eviscerating during this period, and one wonders if a release of truly … Continue reading Joan Didion Knows Where to Cut: Plucking Flowers With “Pretty Nancy”