About the BookJoan Didion's electrifying first novel begins with a murder on the bank of the Sacramento River--a murder that is at once an act of vengeance and a blind attempt to shore up a disintegrating marriage. Out of that act, Didion constructs a tragic and beautifully nuanced work of fiction.
The iconic writer's electrifying first novel is a story of marriage, murder and betrayal that only she could tell with such nuance, sympathy, and suspense--from the bestselling, award-winning author of The Year of Magical Thinking and Let Me Tell You What I Mean.
Everett McClellan and his wife, Lily, are the great-grandchildren of pioneers, and what happens to them is a tragic epilogue to the pioneer experience--a haunting portrait of a marriage whose wrong turns and betrayals are at once absolutely idiosyncratic and a razor-sharp commentary on the history of California.
There hasn't been another American writer of Joan Didion's quality since Nathanael West.... [She has] a vision as bleak and precise as Eliot's. --John Leonard, The New York Times
A slant of vision that is arresting and unique . . . Didion might be an observer from another planet--one so edgy and alert that she ends up knowing more about our own world than we know ourselves. --Anne Tyler, New Republic
A beautifully told first novel . . . written in prose both witty and imaginative. --The Times Literary Supplement (London)
About the AuthorJOAN DIDION was born in Sacramento in 1934 and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1956. After graduation, Didion moved to New York and began working for Vogue, which led to her career as a journalist and writer. Didion published her first novel, Run River, in 1963. Didion's other novels include A Book of Common Prayer (1977), Democracy (1984), and The Last Thing He Wanted (1996). Didion's first volume of essays, Slouching Towards Bethlehem, was published in 1968, and her second, The White Album, was published in 1979. Her nonfiction works include Salvador (1983), Miami (1987), After Henry (1992), Political Fictions (2001), Where I Was From (2003), We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live (2006), Blue Nights (2011), South and West (2017) and Let Me Tell You What I Mean (2021). Her memoir The Year of Magical Thinking won the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 2005. In 2005, Didion was awarded the American Academy of Arts & Letters Gold Medal in Criticism and Belles Letters. In 2007, she was awarded the National Book Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. A portion of National Book Foundation citation read: An incisive observer of American politics and culture for more than forty-five years, Didion's distinctive blend of spare, elegant prose and fierce intelligence has earned her books a place in the canon of American literature as well as the admiration of generations of writers and journalists." In 2013, she was awarded a National Medal of Arts and Humanities by President Barack Obama, and the PEN Center USA's Lifetime Achievement Award. Didion said of her writing: I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means." She died in December 2021.