On Joan Didion’s Controlled, Confessional Style

Joan Didion
Joan Didion

Didion’s writing […] can be deceptive: It pulses with the heady warmth of confession, but in fact has extremely little patience for the indignities of aimless admission. Didion’s confessions are controlled, always, and extremely strategic about what they share and what they keep hidden from view. More than admitting, they imply—Montaigne, definitely, but also Monet: Didion is an essayist who is also an impressionist. The words smear and splash and streak and, through precision and—you have to assume—a bit of magic, conspire to make the whole. (‘When I talk about pictures in my mind,’ Didion said, ‘I am talking, quite specifically, about images that shimmer around the edges. … Look hard enough, and you can’t miss the shimmer. It’s there.’)”

— Megan Garber, The Atlantic


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