17 October 2011

Joan Didion is tiny and cute

Is it required that every profile of Joan Didion mention her weight, her height or her seeming fragility? I saw 3 mentions in this New York magazine profile. Show some respect to a dignified older lady.

Didion's next book BLUE NIGHTS comes out next week -- and although it has made many a fall books list -- it just feels wrong to describe it as an "anticipated" book or one "to get excited about." Have we all forgotten being completely wrecked by THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING? Just me then?


Wade Garrett said...

I see what you mean about it being weird that people are getting excited about Joan Didion's new book, because her content isn't "exciting," but she has a lot of devout fans, and, though she has been prolific in the past couple of years, she's still 77 years old, and we have to savor her new books while we can. As far as I am concerned, her new books can not come quickly enough!

A couple of years ago, I met my friends' parents, and, afterwards, I told her that her mother reminded me of Joan Didion, by which I mean that she was very intelligent, spoke very precisely, and had white/gray hair. The compliment was taken as an insult, because Didion is 20 years older than her mother, but I meant it in the best possible way.

Saint Mooney said...

Ineffably tiny and cute.

That article says is, but as someone who's read almost all of her output, a book that focuses on her daughter is almost the skeleton key to every remaining secret or unanswered question about her. I can't wait to read it, but I'm going to feel really weird after.

Ellen said...

Maybe I sounded too anti-fans of Joan Didion? That wasn't my intention! I know a lot of fans and I am definitely on that side of things, although less fervent than some that I know.

I definitely want to read BLUE NIGHTS, "excited" just isn't the language I would use.

Saint Mooney, you have probably read more Didion than I have; I don't know that I buy this idea that this book will Explain Joan Didion once and for all. Maybe I don't want to believe it because it might be a letdown. Or maybe, as you say, I'll just feel really weird after.

Saint Mooney said...

I mean, it's not actually. I won't know all her secrets. But in a lot of her personal writing from the 80s (and naturally in Magical Thinking), you get these flashes and oblique mentions of Quintana, and none of them are very happy -- it's usually Quintana being sick, Quintana disturbed, Quintana and Joan fighting -- and they're quickly brushed under the rug. The brushing is just as weird as the disturbance itself. It's so strange to think that she's actually going to write about it in some way.

Anonymous said...

Your post was metioned in the issue of New York magazine with Mitt Romney on the cover!!

Ellen said...

Anonymous, that is unbelievable. Thank you for pointing it out! (No really. My folks are gonna be so proud.)