Writer Joan Didion, a chronicler of American society, dies at the age of 87

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Author Joan Didion, whose essays, memoirs, novels, and scripts recounted contemporary American society as well as her grief over the death of her husband and daughter, died at the age of 87.

The cause of death was Parkinson’s disease, said publisher Knopf, which published her works, on Thursday in a statement.

Didion first emerged as a writer of substance in the late 1960s as an early practitioner of “new journalism,” which allowed writers to take a more personalized narrative perspective.

His 1968 essay collection “Slouching Toward Bethlehem,” a title borrowed from poet William Butler Yeats, analyzed the culture of his native California. The essay’s title offered an unfriendly look at the emerging hippie culture in San Francisco, and a New York Times review called the book “some of the best magazine pieces published by anyone in this country in recent years.”

Didion had an air of casual, cool glamor and in her heyday was typically photographed wearing oversized sunglasses or casually with a cigarette dangling from her hand. She was 80 years old in 2015 when French fashion house Celine used her as a model in an advertising campaign for her sunglasses.

The tragedy inadvertently led to a career resurgence in the 2000s, as Didion writes of the death of her husband, writer John Gregory Dunne, in “The Year of Magical Thought,” and daughter Quintana Roo Dunne in “Blue Nights.”

Didion’s works were insightful, confessional, and tinged with scepticism. The Los Angeles Times praised her as an “unrivaled stylist” with “shrewd insights and an exquisite command of language.”

British writer Martin Amis referred to Didion as “the poetess of the Great California Void” and she was especially incisive in writing about the state.

“I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means,” Didion said in a speech at his alma mater, the University of California at Berkeley, in 1975.

Her life and career were captured in the 2017 documentary “Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold” by her nephew, actor-filmmaker Griffin Dunne.

Reference: CNN Brasil

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