I picked up this book at my local Oxfam shop and wondered at myself for actually being interested in reading about death and grief. It's not as if I was unfamiliar with it and so why would I want to read about it after surviving two such mind-numbing experiences? Anybody who has lost anybody knows exactly what Ms Didion is talking about although the death of a life-long partner and probably a child are likely to be in a class of their own. So it was not experience I was hoping to gain. I as an avid reader hunt for technical mastery and an authenticity that touches the soul in what I read. If it hasn't got it, I put it down and discard it forever. In the case of this book, I forced myself to take it slowly, savouring each chapter for its perfect pitch, clear-sighted honesty and its confirmation of life despite the constant grappling with death and its consequences. It is just so frighteningly well constructed and researched and I thank Ms Didion for finishing the piece and setting it free. I lent my copy to a good friend knowing he appreciates good literature, too, but I want it because I suspect I will want to read it again and again as I grow older.
Die Verführbarkeit zum magischen Denken wie auch dessen Dekonstruktion gelingt Joan Didion in ihrem erstaunlich offen autobiographischem Buch. Wie hält man sich die Erinnerung an einen geliebten Menschen warm, wie bleibt sie intim, wenn zugleich über diese Beziehung, den Tod und die Verlassenheit Auskunft gegeben werden soll? Joan Didion ist in ihren frühen Theaterstücken und Essays noch stärker. Aber auch im Jahr des magischen Denkens gelingt ihr das Bekenntnis zu Liebe und Ratlosigkeit ohne Larmoyanz. Ein bißchen peinlich ist es in manchen Passagen, aber nur, weil es weh tut - auch dem empathischen Leser. Das bestärkt die Bewunderung für ihren Mut.
If someone who you loved just died recently it might be very helpful to read this book. To gain insight into your own feelings and dealings - and to know that you are not alone in "magical" or any other kind of thinking which you will experience in grief.