“In this supremely tender work of memory, Didion
is paradoxically insistent that as long as one person is condemned to remember,
there can still be pain and loss and anguish.”
“Darkly riveting…The cumulative effect of
watching her finger her recollections like beads on a rosary is unexpectedly
instructive. None of us can escape death, but Blue Nights shows how Didion has, with the devastating force of her
penetrating mind, learned to simply abide.”
“Breathtaking…With harrowing honesty and
mesmerizing style, Didion chronicles the tragic death of her daughter,
Quintana, interwoven with memories of their happier days together and Didion’s
own meditations on aging.”
“Honest, unflinching, necessarily solipsistic,
and, in the way of these things, self-lacerating…Certainly as a testament of
suffering nobly borne, which is what it will be generally taken for, it is
exemplary. However, [Blue Nights] is
most profound, and most provocative, at another level, the level at which the
author comes fully to realize, and to face squarely, the dismaying fact that
against life’s worst onslaughts nothing avails, not even art; especially not
New York Times Book Review
A haunting memoir . . . Didion is, to my mind, the best living essayist in America . . . What appears on the surface to be an elegantly, intelligently, deeply felt, precisely written story of the loss of a beloved child is actually an elegantly, intelligently, deeply felt, precisely written glimpse into the abyss, a book that forces us to understand, to admit, that there can be no preparation for tragedy, no protection from it, and so, finally, no consolation . . . The book has . . . an incantatory quality: it is a beautiful, soaring, polyphonic eulogy, a beseeching prayer the is sung even as one knows the answer to one’s plea, and that answer is: No.
Cathleen Schine, The New York Review of Books
Blue Nights, though as elegantly written as one would expect, is rawer than its predecessor, the ‘impenetrable polish’ of former, better days now chipped and scratched. The author as she presents herself here, aging and baffled, is defenseless against the pain of loss, not only the loss of loved ones but the loss that is yet to come: the loss, that is, of selfhood. The book will be another huge success . . . Certainly as a testament of suffering nobly borne, which is what it will be generally taken for, it is exemplary. However, it is most profound, and most provocative, at another level, the level at which the author comes fully to realize, and to face squarely, the dismaying fact that against life’s worst onslaughts nothing avails, not even art; especially not art.
John Banville, The New York Times Book Review
The marvel of Blue Nights is that its 76-year-old, matchstick-frail author has found the strength to articulate her deepest fears—which are fears we can all relate to.
Heller McAlpin, The Wasthington Post
The Week magazine's 5 Best Non-Fiction Books of 2011
The master of American prose turns her sharp eye on her own family once again in this breathtaking follow-up to The Year of Magical Thinking. With harrowing honesty and mesmerizing style, Didion chronicles the tragic death of her daughter, Quintana, interwoven with memories of their happier days together and Didion’s own meditations on aging.
Malcolm Jones and Lucas Wittmann, Newsweek
A searing memoir
Darkly riveting . . . The cumulative effect of watching her finger her recollections like beads on a rosary is unexpectedly instructive. None of us can escape death, but Blue Nights shows how Didion has, with the devastating force of her penetrating mind, learned to simply abide.
Louisa Kamps, Elle
A scalpel-sharp memoir of motherhood and loss . . . Now coping with not only grief and regret but also illness and age, Didion is courageous in both her candor and artistry, ensuring that this infinitely sad yet beguiling book of distilled reflections and remembrance is graceful and illuminating in its blue musings.
Donna Seaman, Booklist
Brilliant...Nothing Didion has written since Play It As It Lays seems to me as right and true as Blue Nights. Nothing she has written seems as purposeful and urgent to be told.
Joe Woodward, Huffington Post
“[Didion] often finds captivating, unparalleled grooves. Her expansive thinking…is particularly striking.
The A. V. Club
The reader only senses how intimately she understands her instrument. Her sentences are unquestionably taut, rhythmic and precise.
Time Out NY
A searing, incisive look at grief and loss by one of the most celebrated memoirists of our time.
"Both Fascinating and heartbreaking.
“Yes, this is a book about aging and about loss.
Mostly, though, it is about what one parent and child shared—and what all
parents and children share, the intimacy of what bring you closer and what
splits you apart.”
O, The Oprah Magazine
“Didion’s bravest work. It is a bittersweet look
back at what she’s lost, and an unflinching assessment of what she has left.”
“Didion has created something luminous amid her
self-recrimination and sorrow. It’s her final gift to her daughter—one that
only she could give.”
Wall Street Journal
“Exquisite…She applies the same rigorous
standards of research and meticulous observation to her own life that she
expects from herself in journalism. And to get down to the art of what she
does, her sense of form is as sharp as a glass-cutter’s, and her sentences fold
back on themselves and come out singing in a way that other writers can only
wonder at and envy.”
Washington Independent Review of Books
“For the great many of us who cherish Joan
Didion, who can never get enough of her voice and her brilliant, fragile,
endearing, pitiless persona, [Blue Nights]
is a gift.”
“Didion has translated the sad hum of her
thoughts into a profound meditation on mortality. The result aches with a
wisdom that feels dreadfully earned.”
“Profoundly moving…This is first and last a
meditation on mortality.”
San Francisco Chronicle
“Joan Didion is a brilliant observer, a powerful
thinker, a writer whose work has been central to the times in which she has
lived. Blue Nights continues her
“Incantatory…A beautiful condolence note to
humanity about some of the painful realities of the human condition.”