The Year of Magical Thinking

Philip Larkin once wrote, ‘Lonely in Ireland, since it was not home, strangeness made sense.’ When I read this book, I was travelling on business, something I was used to doing. I was also dealing with grief. There had been a lot of loss in my life and I was too subdued to be fit for public consumption most of the time. Travelling alone was a blessing and a curse; I had an excuse for being on my own, and I needed and hated every minute of it. I read this book in Dublin. It’s the memoir of a woman I’d always known as a hard-nosed, uncompromising writer, who I used to read in college. She's still tough, even when dealing with her husband and daughter’s deaths. The writing is beautiful, but above all there’s a sense of celebration that filters into the book’s darkest moments and a glory that comes from not only having loved and been loved but having enjoyed every minute of it. Who could ask for anything more, really? I think I gave this book away as soon as I was finished to someone else who needed it; I had some affairs and buried some people and fell in love again. I don’t know where the book is now but I know I can get myself another copy if I need it and if there’s anything The Year of Magical Thinking makes clear is that, at some point, I probably will.

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Joan Didion
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