Joan Didion dies; writer chronicled culture with cool detachment

Groundbreaking journalist and writer Joan Didion, who authored works including “Play It As It Lays” and “The White Album,” died Thursday at age 87, the New York Times reported. 

Writer Joan Didion is escorted to her seat after U.S. President Barack Obama awarded her the 2012 National Humanities Medal during a ceremony at the White House in Washington July 10,  2013.   REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Joan Didion, the celebrated prose stylist, novelist and screenwriter who chronicled American culture and consciousness with cool detachment, humor and a brittle awareness of disorder, then turned her lens on herself in books that plumbed the depths of personal tragedies, died this morning at 87.

Didion died in her home in New York due to complications from Parkinson’s disease, according to her publisher, Alfred A. Knopf.

The author bridged the worlds of Hollywood, journalism and literature in a career that arced most brilliantly in the realms of social criticism and memoir.

Her essays explored an eccentric range of subjects — shopping malls, John Wayne, sojourns in Hawaii and havoc in Haight-Ashbury — in a style that was edgy, restrained and elegant.


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