Since the 1960s, Joan Didion has been one of America's finest novelists and most acute social observers. As an undergraduate at Berkeley, she won an essay contest sponsored by Vogue magazine and was offered a job in the New York office of the magazine's publisher, Condé Nast. In New York, she met her husband, the novelist John Gregory Dunne.
The couple moved to Los Angeles, where they enjoyed a unique partnership as Hollywood's most sought-after screenwriting team. The Hollywood scene and the California counterculture provide the backdrop for her novels of the 1970s: Play It As it Lays and A Book of Common Prayer. Her reflections on the turbulent era appeared in her best-selling essay collections, Slouching Towards Bethlehem and The White Album. She won a devoted audience and the profound admiration of her peers with her immaculate prose and penetrating eye for the revelatory detail. In the 1980s, she broadened her range with provocative explorations of hemispheric politics in the book-length essays Miami and Salvador. In Where I Was From, she explores her memories of childhood in the Sacramento delta, and how history and experience have altered her view of her native region.
Her memoirs, The Year of Magical Thinking and Blue Nights, unflinchingly describe her response to her husband's sudden death and the fatal illness of their only child. From the depths of grief, Joan Didion has risen to the height of her powers and turned unbearable experience into transcendent art.