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November 26, 2011 / The Promiscuous Reader

An almost blue Friday

I almost finished Blue Nights by Joan Didion in a day.  But I waited and finished this morning.  I needed to savor it.  She deserved it.  Her writing is so amazing, masterful, delicate.  Some chapters deserve study they are so well-crafted.  When I read her writing, I feel as though I’m looking through a stack of photographs, some of which are very clear and others that are out-of-focus impressions of a moment.  The repetition of certain phrases allows some of these photos to be turned through the stacks with greater frequency and helps to create an overall image or sense of understanding in the reader’s mind.

The book, of course, is a sad tale.  But as much as it is about loss, (the ultimate loss from which she does not back away), it is also about life.  As much as it is about how her life changed when her daughter died, it is also about how much her life changed when her “beautiful baby girl” entered it.  It is perhaps these moments that lift the book up and allow us a view of the arc of motherhood, the full hope, beauty and tragedy of it all.

An Evening with Joan Didion from ALOUDla on Vimeo.


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