Devastatingly, esteemed journalist, writer and author Joan Didion has died from Parkinson’s disease at the age of 87 at her home in Manhattan, New York.
Having penned tomes including The Year of Magical Thinking, Slouching Towards Bethlehem and The White Album, Didion was considered a prolific literary figure, and lauded for her ability to eloquently describe life, loss, politics and American society.
Given the weighty impact of her work, it’s no surprise tributes for Didion are pouring out, from both the literary community and those who have read — and been impacted by — her words.
On an open thread, The Guardian has put a call out for readers to share what Joan, ‘meant to them’, and we’re sharing some of the most poignant, here:
“I first read Joan Didion as a teenager growing up in California in the 70s. Until then, I felt alienated from the world. I hadn’t met or read anyone who thought like I did, felt like I did, looked at life and the world like I did. She helped me realize I wasn’t freakish or crazy, that my point of view was grounded in truth and reality, that I belonged in this world. Along with Pynchon, Sartre, Bellow, and David Byrne, she helped give me the confidence and foundation of my beliefs that I’ve had ever since.”
“The line ‘the stories we tell ourselves in order to live’ is priceless, and timeless.”
“One of our most talented, intelligent, and fiercely independent writers with a penchant for sober observation of herself as for others.”
“I read ‘Slouching Towards Bethlehem’ more than 30 years ago. It woke up something in me, I’d never read anything like it before. It’s unsettled my own writing since then, in a good way. It’s a standard to aspire too, no matter what the subject matter or style.”