Joan Didion, American historian, dies

Author Joan Didion, whose essays, memoirs, novels and film scripts chronicled contemporary American society, has died at the age of 87.

The Knopf House, which publishes Didion’s work, said in a statement that the cause of her death was Parkinson’s disease.

Didion rose as a writer in the late 1960s as a practice of “new journalism”, which allowed writers to adopt a narrative perspective rather than a personal one.

A collection of essays she wrote in 1968 called Lounging Towards Bethlehem, a title adapted from the poet William Butler Yeats, shed light on the culture in her home state of California. The lead article for the group offered an unsympathetic view of the hippie culture that emerged at the time in San Francisco. A critical reader in the New York Times called the book “some of the finest articles published in this country in the past few years.”

She documented the tragedy in her career, and it was in the first decade of the new millennium when she wrote about the death of her husband, writer John Gregory Donne, in “The Year of Magical Thinking” and about the death of her daughter Quintana Roo Donne “Blue Nights”.

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