Writing the Self — On Joan Didion

  Writing about Joan Didion can seem superfluous; after all, it is Joan Didion who has written most widely about Joan Didion. Perhaps more than with any other author, Didion’s personality is impossible to separate from the pages of her work. In five novels, three memoirs and an expansive collection of essays, Didion’s character drips from each precisely positioned word. This is not only a matter of style—her remarkable sense of rhythm, her incantatory repetitions of phrase, her famed lack of sentimentality—but it is the way readers can sense her world view forming and reforming each time she commits her…