Author(s): Joan Didion
Live and Learn comprises three of the personal essay collections that established Joan Didion as a major figure in the modern canon ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ arranged in chronological order so that readers can appreciate not only the qualities of the essays per se, but also their evolution over time. It also includes a new introduction by Joan Didion herself. The stylistic masterpiece Slouching Towards Bethlehem (1968) has become a modern classic, capturing the mood of 1960s America and especially the center of its counterculture, California. The cornerstone essay, an extraordinary report on San FranciscoÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs Haight-Ashbury, sets the agenda for the rest of this book ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ depicting and America where, in some way or another, things are falling apart and ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂthe center cannot holdÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ. The White Album (1979) is a syncopated, swirling mosaic of the 60s and 70s, covering people and artifacts from the Black Panthers and the Manson family to John Paul GettyÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs museum. Sentimental Journeys (1992) shifts its perspective slightly to take in Vietnamese refugee camps in Hong Kong, the Reagan campaign trail, and the inequities of Los Angeles real estate. An important collection, Live and Learn is the perfect one-stop primer on Joan Didion, and an essential reference for readers old and new. It confirms the power of this uniquely unbiased, moving writer, and showcases her artful yet simple prose.
'In her portraits of people, Didion is not out to expose but to understand ... A rich display of some of the best prose written today in this country' The New York Times Book Review 'All of the essays manifest not only [Didion's] intelligence but an instinct for details that continue to emit pulsations in the reader's memory and a style that is spare, subtly musical in its phrasing and exact ! the result is a voice like no other in contemporary journalism' Robert Towers, New York Times Book Review 'Didion manges to make the sorry stuff of troubled times (bike movies, for instance) as interesting and suggestive as the monuments that win her dazzled admiration (Georgia O'Keeffe, the Hoover Dam, the mountains around Bogota) ... A timely and elegant collection' New Yorker 'Didion is an original journalistic talent who can strike at the heart, or the absurdity, of a matter in our contemporary wasteland with quick, graceful strokes' San Francisco Chronicle
Joan Didion lives in New York City with her husband, author John Gregory Dunne. Her previous novels include 'Democracy', 'Run, River' and 'A Book of Common Prayer'.