South and West: From a Notebook

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Product Details

Price
$21.00  $19.53
Publisher
Knopf Publishing Group
Publish Date
Pages
160
Dimensions
4.9 X 7.5 X 0.7 inches | 0.5 pounds
Language
English
Type
Hardcover
EAN/UPC
9781524732790

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About the Author

JOAN DIDION was born in Sacramento in 1934 and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1956. After graduation, Didion moved to New York and began working for Vogue, which led to her career as a journalist and writer. Didion published her first novel, Run River, in 1963. Didion's other novels include A Book of Common Prayer (1977), Democracy (1984), and The Last Thing He Wanted (1996).

Didion's first volume of essays, Slouching Towards Bethlehem, was published in 1968, and her second, The White Album, was published in 1979. Her nonfiction works include Salvador (1983), Miami (1987), After Henry (1992), Political Fictions (2001), Where I Was From (2003), We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live (2006), Blue Nights (2011), South and West (2017) and Let Me Tell You What I Mean (2021). Her memoir The Year of Magical Thinking won the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 2005.

In 2005, Didion was awarded the American Academy of Arts & Letters Gold Medal in Criticism and Belles Letters. In 2007, she was awarded the National Book Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. A portion of National Book Foundation citation read: "An incisive observer of American politics and culture for more than forty-five years, Didion's distinctive blend of spare, elegant prose and fierce intelligence has earned her books a place in the canon of American literature as well as the admiration of generations of writers and journalists." In 2013, she was awarded a National Medal of Arts and Humanities by President Barack Obama, and the PEN Center USA's Lifetime Achievement Award.

Didion said of her writing: "I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means." She died in December 2021.

Reviews

"South and West is a compelling book -- rooted utterly in a past now all but lost to us, while also incredibly timely and relevant...[it] bears the hallmarks of Didion's sparkling prose: her use of detail, juxtaposition, and compression...sentence fragment, description, and insight...Originally written in the 1970s as a pair of diaries, it finally sees the light of day at a moment when California and the Real America of the South are warring over the soul of the country.... South and West is vital, ultimately, for how it demonstrates (even inadvertently) how such a tension plays out."
--Colin Dickey, The Los Angeles Review of Books



"You'll learn more about America's future from Didion's 40-year-old field notes...than you will from tomorrow's newspaper."
--Esquire

"South and West: From a Notebook reveals the author at her most fascinatingly unfiltered, recording folksy vernacular at a motel pool, having G & Ts with Walker Percy, and searching fruitlessly for Faulkner's grave in an Oxford cemetery...her riffs on everything from Gertrude Atherton to crossing the Golden Gate bridge for the first time in three-inch heels captures the thrill of a writer discovering her richest subject: the American mythologies that governed her own romantic girlhood, a yearning for an MGM-style heritage that never really was--a yearning that feels freshly perilous in its delusions."
--Megan O'Grady, Vogue

"There's a universal rule against reading someone else's diary--but in this case, it's not just OK, it's required reading."
--Marie Claire

"The power of [Didion's] work--her ability to precisely articulate feelings, atmosphere, and undercurrents, [is] on striking display in this slender volume...Didion's notes are remarkably polished and slicing in their response to place, conversations overheard and instigated, perceptions of social attitudes, and detection of hypocrisy, irony, and injustice; they shimmer with dark implications. A book for her many avid readers, and anyone interested in the mysterious process of writing."
--Booklist


"Here are many of the splendid, sharp-eyed sentences for which [Didion] has long been admired...her observations are classics: a man with a shotgun shooting pigeons on a street in a Mississippi town; a comment about the fierce heat: 'all movement seemed liquid.' An almost spectral text haunted by a past that never seems distant."
--Kirkus Reviews