We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live: Collected Nonfiction

We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live: Collected Nonfiction

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by Joan Didion
     
 

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(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)

Joan Didion’s incomparable and distinctive essays and journalism are admired for their acute, incisive observations and their spare, elegant style. Now the seven books of nonfiction that appeared between 1968 and 2003 have been brought together into one thrilling collection.

Slouching Towards Bethlehem captures the

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Overview

(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)

Joan Didion’s incomparable and distinctive essays and journalism are admired for their acute, incisive observations and their spare, elegant style. Now the seven books of nonfiction that appeared between 1968 and 2003 have been brought together into one thrilling collection.

Slouching Towards Bethlehem captures the counterculture of the sixties, its mood and lifestyle, as symbolized by California, Joan Baez, Haight-Ashbury. The White Album covers the revolutionary politics and the “contemporary wasteland” of the late sixties and early seventies, in pieces on the Manson family, the Black Panthers, and Hollywood. Salvador is a riveting look at the social and political landscape of civil war. Miami exposes the secret role this largely Latin city played in the Cold War, from the Bay of Pigs through Watergate. In After Henry Didion reports on the Reagans, Patty Hearst, and the Central Park jogger case. The eight essays in Political Fictions–on censorship in the media, Gingrich, Clinton, Starr, and “compassionate conservatism,” among others–show us how we got to the political scene of today. And in Where I Was From Didion shows that California was never the land of the golden dream.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“[Didion’s is] one of the most recognizable—and brilliant—literary styles to emerge in America during the past four decades . . . [She is] a great American writer.”
New York Times Book Review

“One beautiful sentence follows another . . . Didion has remained a clearheaded and original writer all her long life.”
Newsweek

“Her intelligence is as honed as ever . . . Her vision is ice-water clear . . . Didion has captured the mood of America.”
New York Times

“Many of us have tried, and failed, to master [Didion’s] gift for the single ordinary deflating word, the word that spins an otherwise flat sentence through five degrees of irony. But her sentences could only be hers.”
Chicago Tribune

“I have been trying forever to figure out why [Didion’s] sentences are better than mine or yours . . . Something about [their] cadence. They come at you, if not from ambush, then in gnomic haikus, ice pick laser beams, or waves. Even the space on the page around these sentences is more interesting than it ought to be, as if to square a sandbox for a Sphinx.”
—from the Introduction by John Leonard

Library Journal
Didion won the 2005 National Book Award for her memoir The Year of Magical Thinking. This new collection contains her seven previous books of nonfiction Slouching Towards Bethlehem, The White Album, Salvador, Miami, After Henry, Political Fictions, and Where I Was From and takes its title from the first line of The White Album. Some of these books contain disparate essays, others are devoted to just one subject, but either way the quality of Didion's prose is always uniformly high. Irony, a predilection for the extreme, a sense of loss, and her interest in the complexities and ambiguities of existence are just a few of the themes that run throughout, and the subjects whether the brutal conflict in El Salvador or the character of Didion's native state, California are illuminated by her wit, intelligence, and empathy. John Leonard's introduction, marked by his unique prose style and warm appreciation of Didion's voice and accomplishments, should be read after one has sampled the treasures in this collection. A useful chronology matches events in the author's life with historical events and a literary context. Strongly recommended for all public and undergraduate libraries, especially those that do not have all of the works in this anthology. Morris Hounion, New York City Coll. of Technology Lib., CUNY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307264879
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/17/2006
Series:
Everyman's Library Classics and Contemporary Classics Series
Pages:
1160
Sales rank:
149,787
Product dimensions:
5.27(w) x 8.30(h) x 2.01(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Joan Didion was born in California and lives in New York City. She is the author of five novels and seven previous books of nonfiction.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
New York, New York
Date of Birth:
December 5, 1934
Place of Birth:
Sacramento, California
Education:
B.A., University of California at Berkeley, 1956

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