Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The White Album - Joan Didion


Yet another classic collection of Joan Didion's non-fiction, The White Album does not have nearly the punch of Slouching Toward Bethlehem.  Part of this is the spread: while Slouching sticks to a few themes related to the sixties, and certain points about Didion’s life, The White Album is far broader ranging, both in the time span written and the topics handled.

The pieces cover ground like the (then) contemporary scene in California, the Woman’s Movement, Georgia O’Keefe, various travels across the US and the world, and meta-visions of the death of the sixties.   Throughout,  many similar and related topics are treated side by side.  This gives the collection a somewhat fractured feel.

But what unites them all is Didion’s liquid prose, her sterling observations, and her almost supernatural ability to synthesis her observations and work into a single, unified whole. In the end that is what makes this collection a great success and a worthwhile read.

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