Cover image for Blue nights
Title:
Blue nights
Author:
Didion, Joan.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Alfred A. Knopf : Distributed by Random House, [2011]

©2011
Physical Description:
188 pages ; 21 cm.
Summary:
Shares the author's frank observations about her daughter as well as her own thoughts and fears about having children and growing old, in a personal account that discusses her daughter's wedding and her feelings of failure as a parent.

In this memoir, the author shares her observations about her daughter as well as her own thoughts and fears about having children and growing old, in a personal account that discusses her daughter's wedding and her feelings of failure as a parent. It opens on July 26, 2010, as Didion thinks back to Quintana's wedding in New York seven years before. Today would be her wedding anniversary. This fact triggers vivid snapshots of Quintana's childhood, in Malibu, in Brentwood, at school in Holmby Hills. Reflecting on her daughter but also on her role as a parent, Didion asks the candid questions any parent might about how she feels she failed either because cues were missed or perhaps displaced. Seamlessly woven in are incidents Didion sees as underscoring her own age, something she finds hard to acknowledge, much less accept.
Language:
English
Personal Subject:
ISBN:
9780307267672
Format :
Book

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PS3554.I33 Z46 2011 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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PS3554.I33 Z46 2011 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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PS3554.I33 Z46 2011 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
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PS3554.I33 Z46 2011 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
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PS3554.I33 Z46 2011 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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PS3554.I33 Z46 2011 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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PS3554.I33 Z46 2011 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
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PS3554.I33 Z46 2011 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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PS3554.I33 Z46 2011 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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PS3554.I33 Z46 2011 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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PS3554.I33 Z46 2011 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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PS3554.I33 Z46 2011 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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PS3554.I33 Z46 2011 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
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PS3554.I33 Z46 2011 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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Summary

Summary

From one of our most powerful writers, a work of stunning frankness about losing a daughter. Richly textured with bits of her own childhood and married life with her husband, John Gregory Dunne, and daughter, Quintana Roo, this new book by Joan Didion examines her thoughts, fears, and doubts regarding having children, illness, and growing old.
 
Blue Nights opens on July 26, 2010, as Didion thinks back to Quintana's wedding in New York seven years before. Today would be her wedding anniversary. This fact triggers vivid snapshots of Quintana's childhood--in Malibu, in Brentwood, at school in Holmby Hills. Reflecting on her daughter but also on her role as a parent, Didion asks the candid questions any parent might about how she feels she failed either because cues were not taken or perhaps displaced. "How could I have missed what was clearly there to be seen?" Finally, perhaps we all remain unknown to each other. Seamlessly woven in are incidents Didion sees as underscoring her own age, something she finds hard to acknowledge, much less accept.
 
Blue Nights --the long, light evening hours that signal the summer solstice, "the opposite of the dying of the brightness, but also its warning"--like The Year of Magical Thinking before it, is an iconic book of incisive and electric honesty, haunting and profoundly moving.


Author Notes

Born in Sacramento, California, on December 5, 1934, Joan Didion received a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1956. She wrote for Vogue from 1956 to 1963, and was visiting regent's lecturer in English at the University of California, Berkeley in 1976.

Didion also published novels, short stories, social commentary, and essays. Her work often comments on social disorder. Didion wrote for years on her native California; from there her perspective broadened and turned to the countries of Central America and Southeast Asia.

Her novels include Democracy (1984) and The Last Thing He Wanted (1996). Well known nonfiction titles include Slouching Towards Bethlehem (1968), The White Album (1979), The Year of Magical Thinking (2005) and Blue Nights (2011). In 1971 Joan Didion was nominated for the National Book Award in fiction for Play It As It Lays. In 1981 she received the American Book Award in nonfiction, and was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Prize in nonfiction for The White Album.

Didion has received a great deal of recognition for The Year of Magical Thinking, which was awarded the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 2005. In 2007, Didion received the National Book Foundation's annual Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. In 2009, Didion was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree by Harvard University. On July 3, 2013 the White House announced Didion was one of the recipients of the National Medals of Arts and Humanities presented by President Barack Obama.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking (2005), her chronicle of grief following the abrupt death of her husband, writer John Gregory Dunne, evoked a powerful response from a widely diverse readership and won the National Book Award. Left untold was the story of the life and death of Dunne and Didion's daughter, Quintana Roo, the subject of this scalpel-sharp memoir of motherhood and loss. Didion looks to blue nights summer evenings whe. the twilights turn long and blu. only to heral. the dying of the brightnes. to define the dark limbo she's endured since August 2005, when Quintana Roo, 39, died after nearly two years of harrowing medical crises and complications. Didion looks back to her own peripatetic childhood, her and Dunne's life as world-traveling Hollywood screenwriters, and their spontaneously arranged private adoption of their newborn daughter. As Didion portrays Quintana Roo as a smart and stoic girl given t. quicksilve. mood changes, she parses the conundrums of adoption and chastises herself for maternal failings. Now coping with not only grief and regret but also illness and age, Didion is courageous in both her candor and artistry, ensuring that this infinitely sad yet beguiling book of distilled reflections and remembrance is graceful and illuminating in its blue musings. . HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A 200,000 first printing and national tour are planned for this second intimate memoir in light of the tremendous response to Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking (2005).--Seaman, Donn. Copyright 2010 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Kimberly Farr turns in a solid performance in this audio edition of Didion's haunting memoir of her daughter Quintana Roo's illness and death. The book is a sequel of sorts to Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking-about the unexpected death of her husband, John Gregory Dunne-and this previous work haunts Blue Nights and helps to guide Farr's narration. A younger woman than the author, Farr's reading often lacks the mournful quality of the text: her narration is simply perkier than Didion's prose. And while Farr does justice to the author's story-using the elongation of precisely chosen words to indicate untapped reservoirs of emotion-there are times when the reading takes on a tone more appropriate to a less rigorous story of uplift through death. A Knopf hardcover. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Just 20 months after her husband died of a sudden heart attack, best-selling essayist Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking) had to face the death of her only daughter, Quintana Roo, after a long illness. This poignant and touching memoir explores her feelings about loss, motherhood, and her own aging as well as Quintana's life. VERDICT While more rambling and repetitive than her earlier work, Blue Nights reveals flashes of Didion's brilliant style as she conveys the terrible pain of losing a child. Kimberly Farr reads with a warmth and clarity that avoids sentimentality. This book will appeal to Didion's fans and to those coping with the loss of a loved one. ["This worthwhile mediation on parenting and aging by a succinct writer...is well worth the emotional toll," read the review of the New York Times best-selling Knopf hc, LJ 9/15/11; see Major Audio Releases, LJ 9/15/11.-Ed.]-Nancy R. Ives, SUNY at Geneseo (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

In certain latitudes there comes a span of time approaching and following the summer solstice, some weeks in all, when the twilights turn long and blue. This period of the blue nights does not occur in subtropical California, where I lived for much of the time I will be talking about here and where the end of daylight is fast and lost in the blaze of the dropping sun, but it does occur in New York, where I now live. You notice it first as April ends and May begins, a change in the season, not exactly a warming--in fact not at all a warming--yet suddenly summer seems near, a possibility, even a promise. You pass a window, you walk to Central Park, you find yourself swimming in the color blue: the actual light is blue, and over the course of an hour or so this blue deepens, becomes more intense even as it darkens and fades, approximates finally the blue of the glass on a clear day at Chartres, or that of the Cerenkov radiation thrown off by the fuel rods in the pools of nuclear reactors. The French called this time of day "l'heure bleue." To the English it was "the gloaming." The very word "gloaming" reverberates, echoes-- the gloaming, the glimmer, the glitter, the glisten, the glamour--carrying in its consonants the images of houses shuttering, gardens darkening, grass-lined rivers slipping through the shadows. During the blue nights you think the end of day will never come. As the blue nights draw to a close (and they will, and they do) you experience an actual chill, an apprehension of illness, at the moment you first notice: the blue light is going, the days are already shortening, the summer is gone. This book is called "Blue Nights" because at the time I began it I found my mind turning increasingly to illness, to the end of promise, the dwindling of the days, the inevitability of the fading, the dying of the brightness. Blue nights are the opposite of the dying of the brightness, but they are also its warning. Excerpted from Blue Nights by Joan Didion All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.