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We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live: Collected Nonfiction (Everyman's Library) Hardcover – October 17, 2006
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—New York Times Book Review
“One beautiful sentence follows another . . . Didion has remained a clearheaded and original writer all her long life.”
“Her intelligence is as honed as ever . . . Her vision is ice-water clear . . . Didion has captured the mood of America.”
—New York Times
“Many of us have tried, and failed, to master [Didion’s] gift for the single ordinary deflating word, the word that spins an otherwise flat sentence through five degrees of irony. But her sentences could only be hers.”
“I have been trying forever to figure out why [Didion’s] sentences are better than mine or yours . . . Something about [their] cadence. They come at you, if not from ambush, then in gnomic haikus, ice pick laser beams, or waves. Even the space on the page around these sentences is more interesting than it ought to be, as if to square a sandbox for a Sphinx.”
—from the Introduction by John Leonard
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Top Customer Reviews
The first thing I noticed, once I had read just a few of her essays one after the other, was how original--and how widely imitated--her writing style is. I realized I'd been reading Didionesque reportage in the NY Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The NY Review of Books, Harpers, The New Republic etc. for years and had never known it. All the stylistic devices--the opening, all-encapsulating yet at first glance maddeningly indirect anecdote, the jump cut narrative technique that inevitably circles back to a single arresting incident or image, the devastating short-long sentence juxtapositions etc.--are there from the beginning. The thing is, she started it all and has remained the central practitioner of the art. It's as if the most highly accomplished of short story writers has taken to reportage of current and cultural events with a literary vengeance, which is what I suppose that over-used term the "New Journalism" refers to.Read more ›
This compilation was actually fun to read. My favourite pieces were the ones that focused on California or Southern California, respectively. She is a gifted storyteller.
I couldn't help but feel a keen sense of sadness for her with the noted timeline of her life (and historical moments, too). She lost both her parents, then her spouse and two years later her daughter.
I would suggest this book to others. It's a real treasure.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
didion is one of the most perceptive writers of non-fiction. She writes with clarity and brilliance about America, our politics, and our dreams of ourselves.Published 2 months ago by Joan Ekizian
joan didion provides a roadmap for how to write in these collected essays. there's been a didion backlash of late amongst the hipster inheritors of the berkeley hippies didion... Read morePublished 5 months ago by wo
Being such an expansive collection of Didion's works, I worried that the type would be very small and tedious to read. NOT AT All. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Jasper
Here's a simply wonderful anthology of Joan Didion's writing -- in essence, an omnibus of all the nonfiction this talented and versatile writer had published throughout her career,... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Allen Smalling
What can I say, Didion is a great writer. I got this for a gift for my literati partner in crime. She read it voraciously...as I thought she would.Published 14 months ago by K. D. Luckett
She's one of my favorite writers and I was happy to get an anthology of her non-fiction work.Published 17 months ago by Totally unbiased reviewer
Joan Didion is one of my favorite writers. But, even though I consider her among my favorites, sometimes her writings get tedious. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Xiomara
Book is well-bound, paper is high quality.
Includes detailed chronology of Didion's career, side by side with coinciding literary events. Read more