Blue Nights - Joan Didion

Blue Nights

By Joan Didion

  • Release Date: 2011-11-01
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
4 Score: 4 (From 335 Ratings)


A New York Times Notable Book and National Bestseller

From one of our most powerful writers, a work of stunning frankness about losing a daughter.

Richly textured with memories from her own childhood and married life with her husband, John Gregory Dunne, and daughter, Quintana Roo, this new book by Joan Didion is an intensely personal and moving account of her thoughts, fears, and doubts regarding having children, illness and growing old.

As she reflects on her daughter’s life and on her role as a parent, Didion grapples with the candid questions that all parents face, and contemplates her age, something she finds hard to acknowledge, much less accept. Blue Nights—the long, light evening hours that signal the summer solstice, “the opposite of the dying of the brightness, but also its warning”—like The Year of Magical Thinking before it, is an iconic book of incisive and electric honesty, haunting and profound.

"Incantory....A beautiful condolance note to humanity about some of the painful realities of the human condition." --The Washington Post



  • Buy this book.

    By Todd Royal
    Probably the most honest book I have ever read, next to the Bible. Thank you for this book and for it changing my life. I will come back to your introductory pages the way I come back to Graham Greene's collection of short stories book when I need inspiration -- and so should you the potential reader and buyer. What Graham Greene is to short stories this book is to honesty and the best writing you can read. Reading this book and all its tragedy makes me imagine Shakespeare was a woman? Because only a woman could be tragic, brilliant and honest all at the same time and that's what this book achieves. It's Shakespeare for parents and grieving. Again, thank you for this book. Finally, this book will make you realize your humanity and all the flaws of life -- the beautiful, baffling flaws. I hope every reader is moved by reading this book as much as I was.
  • Blue nights

    By Basblu
    Lovely. Beautifully written. Moving. Sad. Lovely.
  • Real aging

    By Docjpv1
    Affecting and moving. Frustrating sometimes, as listening to an older person tell THEIR story can be. Soak this in. She is not writing to entertain, but to do her best to tell something real.
  • Too sad

    By Reality 1
    I think Joan needs help to deal with her grief. My heart breaks for her, but her books are sounding the same now.
  • Not The Year of Magical Thinking

    By Brentoinla
    Isn't it time that Didion stop profiting from the death of loved ones? TYOMT took us on a raw and emotional journey. It was a beautiful and heartbroken prose; this book isn't. Instead, I found it to be a boring tale of her privileged life and her glimpses of motherhood. It's tangential, unorganized, and flat. It's certainly not the tribute I'd want from my mother. Perhaps she should put down the pen. It was a disappointing read.
  • Blue Nights

    By Blue Nights
    Ms. Didion's tale of life, death, and grief throughout are depicted as an experience unique to the author. While nearly 30 years her junior, I endured many similar life experiences commencing at age five. My parents were not Hollywood producers, they were milk producers (dairy farmers.). My mother likely never heard of designer labels, instead she manufactured many of her own wears. And those that were well known in the community of both good and ill repute we're not mob bosses and entertainers, but rather local clergy and county folk. All who are born are destined in one fashion or another to share the experience of life, and ultimately death. Didion's latest memoir is testament to the fact that neither notoriety or riches entitles any of us to exemption. Frankly, very little of what she writes about here is unknown to any of us, sad as it may seem.
  • Sometimes moving

    By USJackDempsey
    There were times, reading this, that I felt strongly moved by JD's repetitive sentence structures, a technique she more or less perfected in "The Book of Common Prayer.". At other times, I felt her prose style had become no longer mannered--something I loved in her work--but rather an echo of what it had been, her incantations victories not of feeling but only of syntax. I felt sorry, of course, for her losses--but I got fed up at times with the sense of privilege that saturated her recent writing. Terrible things happen without notice? Doctors are uninterested in patients? For these to be discoveries--well, you'd have to be white and rather privileged not to have learned these things by 35. Do I sound churlish? I don't mean to be. But it pains me to see one of my favorite writers succumb to the myth of herself.
  • Blue Nights

    By HellomaryLou
    Disappointing, after reading her great "The Year of Magical Thinking", this was so sad to read. Her physical and emotional decline are so evident in her writing. This is a woman who has lost everything of importance and now must face the loss of her health as we all must if we live long enough to be old.
  • Disappointed

    By AppCrashing
    I actually didn't like this book very much, and had to stop reading about 80 pages in. I have no doubt there is profound soul-searching here, which is why I bought it in the first place. But I felt that sincerity obscured by the frequent name dropping and elitist references - things like, "so-and-so made this movie and while on his yacht in the Maldives he took a picture of my daughter in her designer dress while I made martinis in my Chanel suit.". I understand the importance of life context, but I just felt the repetitive overlay of references to their fabulous life made me somewhat unsympathetic. For another grappling with the fatal illness of a loved one, I'd recommend Terry Tempest Williams' Refuge.
  • Interesting

    By sandy526
    I read the excerpt from this book and thought it would be an interesting read from an interesting lady, being unfamiliar with Joan Didion. I did enjoy the book, which I read in one fell swoop. I cannot imagine her loss or pain, but I found that her anguish and pain and possibly her healing came through well in her book. I liked the style of writing also but came away looking for more details, which just aren't there. I will read more of her books in the future.