A brilliant writer and a brand unto herself – Michiko Kakutani

Joan Didion, whose works revolve around the precariousness of life, is a hard-headed survivor drawn to extremes and a woman who prizes order and control

The Last Love Song: A Biography of Joan Didion

By Tracy Daugherty, 752 pages, St Martin’s Press, $35

Loss, nostalgia for a vanished past and “the unspeakable peril of the everyday” represented by “swimming pools, high-tension wires, lye under the sink, aspirin in the medicine cabinet” — these are the themes that have animated Joan Didion’s work, since “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” established her as one of America’s most distinctive and acute literary voices almost five decades ago.

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