‘Life changes in an instant,’ I remembered my mother saying on the phone, quoting the repeated line that runs through The Year of Magical Thinking, in the days after we had both read it. ‘It’s chilling.’ For my generation, Didion showed us the world when our parents were young; with a memoir on grieving, she suggested where they were headed. It was a bit of a clichéd line, but this was Joan Didion writing it. This was Joan Didion without better words and that was what was chilling.
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