The Year of Magical Thinking

Winner, National Book Awards 2005 for Nonfiction

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion book cover, 2005
ISBN 9781400043149
Joan Didion author photo, Photo © Brigitte Lacombe, 2005
Joan Didion

Joan Didion's five novels are Run River (1963), Play It As It Lays (1970), A Book of Common Prayer (1977), Democracy (1984), and The Last Thing He Wanted (1996). Her nonfiction books are Slouching Towards Bethlehem (1968), The White Album (1978), Salvador (1983), Miami (1987), After Henry (1992), Political Fictions (2001), Where I Was From (2003) and The Year of Magical Thinking(2005), a memoir, which won the National Book Award. More about this author >

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A stunning book of electric honesty and passion. Joan Didion explores an intensely personal yet universal experience: a portrait of a marriage and the life that surrounds it, in good times and bad.

Judges Citation

The Year of Magical Thinking is a masterpiece in two genres: memoir and investigative journalism. The subject of the memoir is the year after the sudden death of the writer's husband. The target of the investigation, though, is the nature of folly and time. The writer attends to details, assembles a chronology, and asks hard questions of the witnesses, most notably herself. But she imagines that the story she tells can be revised, the world righted, her husband returned, alive. What she offers is an unflinching journey into intimacy and grief.