The Killing of a Chinese Bookie — John Cassavetes (Full Film)

Didion with Tomato and Blackberries (Book Acquired, 5.11.2012)

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Joan Didion’s memoir about the death of her daughter is now in trade paperback from Vintage. These blackberries and this tomato were featured in an earlier “Books Acquired” post; they are among the first yield of my spring garden. I will eat them tonight.

From John Banville’s NYT review:

Somewhere in his published diaries the playwright Alan Bennett observes that when misfortune befalls a writer the effect of it is in a small but significant measure ameliorated by the fact that the experience, no matter how dire, can be turned into material, into something to write about. Thus Joan Didion, after her husband, John Gregory Dunne, died suddenly of a heart attack on Dec. 30, 2003, made out of her bereavement a remarkable book, “The Year of Magical Thinking,” which became an international success, speaking directly as it must have not only to those who themselves had been recently bereaved, but to hundreds of thousands of readers wishing to know what it feels like to lose a loved one, and how they might themselves prepare for the inevitable losses that life sooner or later will cause us all to suffer.

Now Didion has written a companion piece to that book.“Blue Nights” is an account of the death, in 2005, of her and Dunne’s adopted daughter, Quintana Roo, and more specifically, of Didion’s struggle, as a mother and a writer, to cope with this second assault upon her emotional and, indeed, physical resources.