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Answered: Your Most Asked Questions About the Year of Magical Thinking

Olivia is a freelance content writer and a reading enthusiast.

Answered: Your Most Asked Questions About The Year of Magical Thinking

Answered: Your Most Asked Questions About The Year of Magical Thinking

As a reader, you know people have a lot of questions about books. Here are the answers to your most asked questions—according to AnswerThePublic—about one amazing read: The Year of Magical Thinking.

Sidney Hall’s the Camelopardalis, Tarandus and the Custos Messium.

Sidney Hall’s the Camelopardalis, Tarandus and the Custos Messium.

Who Wrote The Year of Magical Thinking?

Joan Didion is the author of The Year of Magical Thinking, and an award-winning author and journalist with 26 books and screenplays to her name. She is the recipient of the 2005 National Book Award for Nonfiction for The Year of Magical Thinking. Her books often focus on cultural ideals, answers to hard questions, and relationships.

Appreciated for her impeccable style, she has been lauded as one of America's finest living novelists by TIME Magazine. In 2013 she received the National Medal of Arts.

Sidney Hall’s Lynx and the Telescopium Herschilii.

Sidney Hall’s Lynx and the Telescopium Herschilii.

What Is The Year of Magical Thinking About?

The Year of Magical Thinking recounts how the author lost her husband to a sudden heart attack and how she dealt with it. The book is the brutal, honest story of what it feels like to lose a spouse.

Joan Didion mourns the death of her husband, John Gregory Dunne, and wrote this book about the first year without him. In 2003, John died at the age of seventy-one. In the book, she discusses everything from opening a dresser drawer for the first time since he died, to how she plans her day.

The passage that cuts me deepest is when she recounts keeping a broken alarm clock and a set of dried-up coloring pens because they were gifts from John.

Joan Didion tries to show how life changes in an instant; there was no preparatory time for her family loss. Outwardly "strong"—inwardly debilitating—this record is about living with terrible uncertainty and falling into the traps of magical thinking. That is, seeing connections between unrelated events and believing one can supernaturally influence them.

The story may make you cry and has some great life advice that can help you cope with the hard times of losing of a loved one. You'll be able to read about all the things that happened in her life before and after her husband's death like getting married, adopting their daughter, and more. If you're looking for an inspiring story then this book is perfect for you.

Astronomical chart illustration of the Monoceros, Canis Minor and the Atelier Typographique by Sidney Hall.

Astronomical chart illustration of the Monoceros, Canis Minor and the Atelier Typographique by Sidney Hall.

Trailer for the Documentary Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold

Is The Year of Magical Thinking a True Story?

Yes, the book is a true story about how the author was unable to accept her husband's death, based on life events from December 2003 to February 2005.

In this acclaimed bestseller, Joan Didion recounts a year spent in a deep state of shock and shows how those who go through such an experience must find ways to carry on living.

Alone seemingly overnight, she finds herself a widow and both mother and father to her hospitalized adult daughter. She chronicles not only her loss as a grieving widow but also her early life with John and their life together.

Astronomical chart illustration of Gloria Frederici, Andromed by Sidney Hall.

Astronomical chart illustration of Gloria Frederici, Andromed by Sidney Hall.

What Genre is The Year of Magical Thinking?

The year of magical thinking is a memoir and a piece of investigative journalism.

Memoirs are written from a personal point of view, often regarding emotional and personal events. The subject of the book is a personal, emotional experience that was shared with an audience of millions. It became the bestseller and cultural touchstone for our era.

In its pages, she tells her life story and also includes chapters on grief, marriage, sickness and death, on the nature of thinking itself—the awesome power it offers us but also its terrifying limitations.

Although it is a memoir about grief, The Year of Magical Thinking is closest to reportage from natural disasters and an investigation on the nature of grief. Didion's tone throughout the book remains remarkably calm, coolly detached yet sympathetic.

Sidney Hall’s astronomical chart illustration of the Scorpio. Original from Library of Congress.

Sidney Hall’s astronomical chart illustration of the Scorpio. Original from Library of Congress.

Was The Year of Magical Thinking on Broadway?

The 2005 memoir The Year of Magical Thinking was made into a play, which opened on Broadway on Mar 29, 2007, and played through Aug 25, 2007. It was also played at many other theaters.

Joan Didion's loss is so deep that she briefly suppresses reality from breaking through. The play beautifully captures those moments when grief tugs at consciousness.

I hope this has helped answer your questions about the book and its popularity. If you have any other burning questions, feel free to comment below. As always, thank you for reading.

Vanessa Redgrave Discusses Her Role in Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking

© 2021 Olivia Mills

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