Inside | Real news, curated by real humans
ReadThisThing

ReadThisThing (Apr 3rd, 2018)

This essay is so famous it is said to have spawned its own mini genre of essays about leaving New York. Like the song on the jukebox, it expresses the feelings everyone has about a common experience. The brilliance of the essay is that even in the act of writing it [Joan] Didion reenacts an emotional cliche, the narrator telling a past self how silly and stupid she was to fall for a story that everyone falls for. This self-conscious style, a personal matter conveyed at a distance, would become Didion’s signature. Even when she wrote about something as personal as her divorce, she did it at a remove, turning it over in her hand, polishing it to a shine that concealed certain roughnesses in the center.

An excerpt from journalist Michelle Dean's new book about 20th century female writers focuses on Joan Didion, the prolific memoirist who honed her style over many years of trial and error. It's a fascinating look behind the scenes of a creative process informed by personal heartache and difficulty. 

Read: How Joan Didion Became Joan Didion

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

Subscribe to ReadThisThing

MORE NEWSLETTERS

News, updates, reviews and analysis of industry and consumer trends in the world of streaming

Inside Streaming

News, updates, reviews and analysis of industry and consumer trends in the world of streaming

DAILY
News, updates, reviews and analysis of industry and consumer trends in the world of streaming

Inside Streaming

DAILY

SUBSCRIBED!

Share via

Everything you need to know about the resurgence of the spoken word

Inside Podcasting

Everything you need to know about the resurgence of the spoken word

DAILY
Everything you need to know about the resurgence of the spoken word

Inside Podcasting

DAILY

SUBSCRIBED!

Share via

Drone news for hobbyists, professionals, and investors

Inside Drones

Drone news for hobbyists, professionals, and investors

WEEKLY
Drone news for hobbyists, professionals, and investors

Inside Drones

WEEKLY

SUBSCRIBED!

Share via

Facebook's mission is to connect the world's people. Ours is to keep an eye on them.

Inside Facebook

Facebook's mission is to connect the world's people. Ours is to keep an eye on them.

TWICE WEEKLY
Facebook's mission is to connect the world's people. Ours is to keep an eye on them.

Inside Facebook

TWICE WEEKLY

SUBSCRIBED!

Share via