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Extended Audio Sample The Year of Magical Thinking Audiobook, by Joan Didion Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (50,274 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Joan Didion Narrator: Barbara Caruso Publisher: Highbridge Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2005 ISBN: 9781598872071
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One must go on, one can't go on, one goes on: This terrible year begins with her daughter in a coma and her husband's sudden death. 2005 National Book Award nonfiction winner. Audie Award finalist. "Ravishing... In a voice as warm and clear as wildflower Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Thrilling…A living, sharp, and memorable book…An exact, candid, and penetrating account of personal terror and bereavement…Sometimes quite funny because it dares to tell the truth.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Achingly beautiful…We have come to admire and love Didion for her preternatural poise, unrivaled eye for absurdity, and Orwellian distaste for cant. It is thus a difficult, moving, and extraordinarily poignant experience to watch her direct such scrutiny inward.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “An act of consummate literary bravery, a writer known for her clarity allowing us to watch her mind as it becomes clouded with grief…It also skips backward in time [to] call up a shimmering portrait of her unique marriage…To make her grief real, Didion shows us what she has lost.”

    Time

  • “Unforgettable…Both personal and universal. She has given the reader an eloquent starting point in which to navigate through the wilderness of grief.”

    Chicago Sun-Times

  • The Year of Magical Thinking…[is] told in some of the plainest, yet most eloquent prose you’ll ever encounter. Everyone who has ever lost anyone, or will ever lose anyone, would do well to read it.”

    Seattle Times

  • “An exacting self-examination…Also a heartbreaking…love letter, engrossing in its candor…Didion illuminates the bond between husband and wife.”

    Boston Globe

  • “[The Year of Magical Thinking] is a work of surpassing clarity and honesty.”

    Washington Post Book World

  • “Stark and engrossing.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “It’s a work that touches on surprisingly uncharted territory…[The Year of Magical Thinking] is a work of much majesty.”

    Christian Science Monitor

  • Winner of the 2005 National Book Award for Nonfiction
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • Winner of the 2006 Audie Award
  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A 2005 New York Times Top 10 Book
  • A 2005 Time Magazine Top 10 Book
  • A 2006 Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Biography/Autobiography
  • A 2005 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Janet Linda | 2/13/2014

    " You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends... I just lost my Dad and brother; Didion kindly shared the grieving process by my side, and I'll forever appreciate her candor. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Adam Wahlberg | 2/4/2014

    " Gorgeous language, painful topic, admire Didion's rather forensic approach to loss. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jane Hammons | 1/29/2014

    " Didion said she was surprised that of all her books this is the one that received notice and a prize. I'm not surprised really mainly because of the subject, but for me, having read all of her nonfiction, this book really is not among her best. I reacted to it the way I do most of her fiction, which is to feel so distanced by the voice that I never go all the way into it. I liked it, but I expected to like it so much more. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Missy | 1/16/2014

    " One of my husband's attending physicians gave this book to all of the medical students working under her. I had never read anything by Didion, and because of her gifted writing, it was intriguing to witness her journey of suddenly losing her husband. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Nudmfree2 | 1/13/2014

    " I wouldn't really recommend this book. Portions of it were very interesting in how the main character deals with grief; however, there was much of the book that I just skimmed over because it didn't interest me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Arlene | 1/7/2014

    " This book will make you stop and appreciate all the people in your life that you love. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lynn Vannucci | 12/10/2013

    " I read this book, and then gave it to my sister, the year her husband died. It was an intensely necessary read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sidra | 6/4/2013

    " I would actually give this 3.5 stars. It was a fascinating look at one woman's grief in a sympathetic but never simplistic way. There were some connections that she made that didn't mean much to me--I didn't make the leap with her. Still it was a fascinating book with many layers. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laurie Chandler | 4/1/2013

    " Death and loss. A sad fact of life. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nyyfan22000 | 12/29/2012

    " An amazing memoir. Absolutely amazing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer Snook | 11/24/2012

    " "In the end it all evens out" "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Martha | 7/7/2012

    " If she weren't Joan Didion, no one would read this. Me me me what I wore me me. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Roma Jones | 7/2/2012

    " Had nice little tidbit's in it but overall i struggled to connect to this book and her writing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Angchronicles | 4/20/2012

    " Stark, honest and magical. Didion is a strong, courageous woman who lives to write and writes to live. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laurel | 4/10/2012

    " Didion's writing is beautiful and surprisingly restrained given the subject matter; I am going to read one of her early essay collections, probably Slouching Towards Bethlehem, soon. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Courtney Milford | 3/17/2012

    " The author speaks from the heart about the shock and misery of losing her husband. I liked this book better than the one she recently wrote about the shock and misery of losing her only daughter. This poor lady. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bridget | 11/16/2011

    " I could reread this book a hundred times and always find something new to love about it. Beautiful! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan Willson | 6/20/2011

    " Written during a year of grieving when it is still fresh and painful. You must get past her wonderfully privileged lifestyle to feel her loneliness and pain of losing a husband and friend. If you can do that you will understand her loss "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christopher | 5/23/2011

    " Very sad but not depressing. A great read for anyone who is, or will be (all of us?) dealing with the death of a loved one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alisson | 5/22/2011

    " Depressing, but a great study of grief and the love you share with a spouse. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brenda | 5/19/2011

    " After reading other reviews of this book, it occurs to me that you may not be able to empathize with the Joan's story if you have not lost a spouse. I read this after my husband of 26 years died following a long illness. I not only understood her pain, I believe it helped me through mine. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Amanda | 5/16/2011

    " great writing in many parts, but got a little too self-indulgent and repetitive towards the end. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nancy | 5/13/2011

    " This is a beautiful story told in beautiful language. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Naomi | 5/13/2011

    " I'm not a Didion fan in general, but I found this book impossible to put down. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Vivcon | 5/12/2011

    " Read everything by Joan Didion beginning my Junior year of undergrad. She is my soul-mate. Her prose and perspective make me glad to be alive. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Patricia | 5/11/2011

    " People think so highly of this book, I wonder if I just didn't get<i/> it somehow. It seemed self-involved and self-indulgent, and what, may I ask, is the reader supposed to get out of it? "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Chloe | 5/10/2011

    " I found it so hard to connect with such a profound grief.
    I've never experienced such termoil - it's pacified and unnerving. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Holly | 5/10/2011

    " Incredibly depressing, but very powerful. I mean, that pretty much sums up Joan Didion in general, but this book was something special. I'd recommend it to anyone who has experienced loss. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephanie | 5/5/2011

    " Very tragic and touching. I probably should have waited a bit to read it as I just lost my Dad a few months ago, and as a result I had to set it aside a few times and it took me awhile to get through. It was a really good look at grief, and quite helpful. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erica | 5/4/2011

    " You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.




    Very tough to read, and I am sure, very tough to write. This book made me think about my own mortality and that of my family and friends. Joan made it through! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marion | 5/3/2011

    " "Was it only by dreaming or writing that I could find out what I thought?" "

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About the Author
Author Joan Didion

Joan Didion was born in Sacramento, California, and now lives in New York City. She is the author of several novels and numerous books of nonfiction.

About the Narrator

Barbara Caruso is an accomplished actress and critically acclaimed audiobook narrator. A graduate of London’s prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, she was a featured player in the Royal Shakespeare Company. She has played starring roles on Broadway and in theaters across the country. She won the Alexander Scourby Reader of the Year Award for her performances of young adult fiction, and has more than one hundred audiobook narrations to her credit.