Joan Didion

You don’t have to write much more in a headline than that to catch attention. The New Yorker is doing a bit of a dive into what women’s lives were like in Didion’s novels. Of course, it’s, you know, written by a guy.

As the lovely New York spring of 1977 turned into the worst kind of New York summer, I did two things over and over again: I watched Robert Altman’s mid-career masterpiece “3 Women,” at a theatre in midtown, and I read Joan Didion’s astounding third novel, “A Book of Common Prayer.” Released within weeks of each other that year, when I was sixteen, these two revelatory pieces of art shared a strong aesthetic atmosphere, an incisive view of uneasy friendships between women, a deadpan horror of consumerism, and an understanding of how the uncanny can manifest in the everyday. Reading and watching—it wasn’t long before Altman’s and Didion’s projects merged in my mind, where they constituted a kind of mini-Zeitgeist, one that troubled, undid, and then remade my ideas about how feminism might inform popular art.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s