Rough Magic

Joan Didion faces her daughter's death, and her own

Courtesy of Joan Didion

Joan Didion with 10-month-old Quintana Roo, whom she adopted at birth in 1966.

Joan Didion wrote her previous book, The Year of Magical Thinking, to describe her grief after the death of her husband, the writer John Gregory Dunne. It is unlikely that she was interested in producing a sequel. But shortly before that book was published, in 2005, Didion's daughter Quintana died as well, of acute pancreatitis after a series of illnesses, at 39. Now Didion has written another book, equally moving, which forms a melancholy companion piece to the first. But in Blue Nights, Didion is mourning not just the loss of her daughter. She's also mourning the loss of herself.

Blue...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!