In New York Times bestselling The Last Love Song, Tracy Daugherty, the critically acclaimed author of Hiding Man (a New Yorker and New York Times Notable book) and Just One Catch, delves deep into the life of distinguished American author and journalist Joan Didion in this, the first printed biography published about her life.Read more...
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In New York Times bestselling The Last Love Song, Tracy Daugherty, the critically acclaimed author of Hiding Man (a New Yorker and New York Times Notable book) and Just One Catch, delves deep into the life of distinguished American author and journalist Joan Didion in this, the first printed biography published about her life.
Joan Didion lived a life in the public and private eye with her late husband, writer John Gregory Dunne, whom she met while the two were working in New York City when Didion was at Vogue and Dunne was writing for Time. They became wildly successful writing partners when they moved to Los Angeles and co-wrote screenplays and adaptations together. Didion is well-known for her literary journalistic style in both fiction and non-fiction. Some of her most-notable work includes Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Run River, and The Year of Magical Thinking, a National Book Award winner and shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize, it dealt with the grief surrounding Didion after the loss of her husband and daughter. Daugherty takes readers on a journey back through time, following a young Didion in Sacramento, through to her adult life as a writer interviewing those who know and knew her personally, while maintaining a respectful distance from the reclusive literary great. The Last Love Song reads like fiction; lifelong fans, and readers learning about Didion for the first time will be enthralled with this impressive tribute.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-04-06
- Reviewer: Staff
Daugherty, author of the Donald Barthelme biography Hiding Man, offers a monumental, novelistic examination of Joan Didion’s life and career. The book’s impressively detailed attention to place, beginning with Didion’s California origins, grounds Didion’s development as both a fiction writer and a journalist who served as “our keenest observer of the chaos” of the 1960s and beyond. At times, Daugherty tries too hard to mimic Didion’s own famously cool and elliptical style, as in the passages about her time in Hollywood, but he settles into confident, engrossing prose when focusing on Didion’s literary achievements, from the prematurely world-weary early novels and the groundbreaking essays that cemented her fame to the “extremely political, icily angry” mature works and the heartbreaking late memoirs The Year of Magical Thinking and Blue Nights. Taking a loyal, often protective tone toward his (physically) “famously frail” subject, Daugherty crafts a complex, intricately shaded portrait of a woman also known for her inner toughness and intellectual rigor. This landmark work renders a nuanced analysis of a literary life, lauds Didion’s indelible contributions to American literature and journalism (especially New Journalism), and documents a “style has become the music of our time.” 8-page b&w photo insert. (Aug.)