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29 November 2011

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I agree with everything you say. I like how Didion returns to sentences uttered in previous passages in earlier chapters. Each time the reappear they resonate with emotion, sometimes taking on new meaning.

Maybe I would disagree and pose that she has a sentimental side, as she has many keepsakes from her life, including dresses that she wore in the 1960s and things from Quintana Roo's childhood. Maybe sentiment suggests sappiness, but Didion is never sappy. She has an honest, deep felt sentiment.

It is another great book from Didion.

Rick,
Important points all. I too really like Didion's style of repeating herself; to me, it makes me FEEL her mindset--how your brain keeps looping back to impressions and words when you're both puzzling things out and reliving them.

I tend to take a negative view of sentimentality, thinking that our culture relies on an easy form of it that is harmful. (Mitch Albom comes to mind here.) But you're right. Nobody keeps their clothes from the 1960s unless they're a bit sentimental, in the best possible way. But never, ever sappy.

I love and admire Didion's writing so, so much. I can't figure out when to read this book, though -- while I'm still pregnant? After I have a kid? Both seem like kind of bad choices, so I may end up just getting it whenever it comes to me on the holds list.

Well, Laura, all I can say about having a kid is get your reading in NOW. :)

The great thing about Didion is you'll find something in her books anytime--I don't think you need to have a child to understand this book, for instance. You might get more and different things out of it if you do (particularly if you adopt), but it's not necessary.

I was most struck by some of her comments on memories and the things we save to help us remember. But that eventually the last thing we want to do is remember. So much to consider in such a short book.

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