RIP: Joan Didion

Interrupting the holiday break here to bring news you’ve surely already heard: one of the greatest writers and thinkers of the 20th Century has died at the age of 87. New York Times has the obit.

Joan Didion Interview Ahead of Let Me Tell You What I Mean | Time

Her attraction to trouble spots, disintegrating personalities and incipient chaos came naturally. In the title essay from “The White Album,” she included her own psychiatric evaluation after arriving at the outpatient clinic of St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica complaining of vertigo and nausea.

It read, in part: “In her view she lives in a world of people moved by strange, conflicted, poorly comprehended, and, above all, devious motivations which commit them inevitably to conflict and failure.” This description, which Ms. Didion did not contest, could describe the archetypal heroine of her novels.

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