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Extended Audio Sample The Year of Magical Thinking, 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:
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Didion’s journalistic skills are displayed as never before in this story of a year in her life that began with her daughter in a medically induced coma and her husband unexpectedly dead due to a heart attack.

This powerful and moving work is Didion’s “attempt to make sense of the weeks and then months that cut loose any fixed idea I ever had about death about illness…about marriage and children and memory…about the shallowness of sanity about life itself.” With vulnerability and passion, Joan Didion explores an intensely personal yet universal experience of love and loss. The Year of Magical Thinking will speak directly to anyone who has ever loved a husband, wife, or child.

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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.”


  • “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 by 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 by 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 by 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 by 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. "

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