In her first book since The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion has now written with stunning frankness about her daughter, Quintana Roo, as well as thoughts and fears about having children and about growing old.
Blue Nights opens on July 26, 2010, as Didion thinks back to Quintana’s wedding in New York seven years before. Today would be her wedding anniversary. This fact triggers vivid snapshots of Quintana’s childhood—in Malibu, in Brentwood, at school in Holmby Hills. Reflecting on her daughter but also on her role as a parent, Didion asks the candid questions any parent might about how she feels she failed either because cues were missed or perhaps displaced. Seamlessly woven in are incidents Didion sees as underscoring her own age, something she finds hard to acknowledge, much less accept.
Blue Nights—the long, light evening hours that follow the summer solstice, “the opposite of the dying of the brightness, but also its warning”—is a book that is not only haunting but profoundly moving.