Listen to Slate's Audio Book Club on Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking:
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Not many writers could produce a candid, unflinching study of a subject no one likes to think about and then watch it hit No. 6 on the New York Times best-seller list. But that's where Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking sits today, a testament to our belief that if anyone can lead us successfully through a narrative of intense grief and mourning, it will be a writer of Didion's stature and talent.
Magical Thinking chronicles the year following the death of Didion's husband of four decades, John Gregory Dunne, a year during which their only child, newly married daughter Quintana Roo, fell in and out of a coma. It is not an uplifting tear-jerker about a life well lived in the vein of, say, Tuesdays With Morrie, but neitheris it a forbidding, morbid slog. It is a book whose spare prose and startling insights practically demand to be discussed with others once you've finished it.
It is, in short, the perfect subject for our first Audio Book Club. (To read more about Slate's book club initiative, click here.) Our hour-long discussion of Magical Thinking is led by Slate's culture editor, Meghan O'Rourke. She's joined by author Katie Roiphe and Slate book critic Stephen Metcalf.