“THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING”
BY JOAN DIDION
From one of America’s iconic writers, a portrait of a marriage and a life — in good times and bad — that will speak to anyone who has ever loved a husband or wife or child. A stunning book of electric honesty and passion.
Several days before Christmas 2003, John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion saw their only daughter, Quintana, fall ill. At first they thought it was flu, then pneumonia, then complete sceptic shock. She was put into an induced coma and placed on life support. Days later — the night before New Year’s Eve — the Dunnes were just sitting down to dinner after visiting the hospital when John suffered a massive and fatal coronary. In a second, this close, symbiotic partnership of 40 years was over. Four weeks later, their daughter pulled through. Two months after that, arriving at LA airport, she collapsed and underwent six hours of brain surgery at UCLA Medical Centre to relieve a massive hematoma.
This powerful book is Didion’s “attempt to make sense of the weeks and then months that cut loose any fixed idea I ever had about death, about illness, about marriage and children and memory, about the shallowness of sanity, about life itself.”
The result is an exploration of an intensely personal yet universal experience: a portrait of a marriage, and a life, in good times and bad.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Joan Didion was born in Sacramento, California in 1934 and has been a novelist, essayist and screenwriter for more than three decades. Her five novels are Run River (1963), Play It As It Lays (1970), A Book of Common Prayer (1977), Democracy (1984), and The Last Thing He Wanted (1996). Her nonfiction books are Slouching Towards Bethlehem (1968), The White Album (1978), Salvador (1983), Miami (1987), After Henry (1992), Political Fictions (2001), Where I Was From (2003) and The Year of Magical Thinking (2005), a memoir, which won the National Book Award. Ms. Didion adapted her memoir into a Broadway play starring Vanessa Redgrave. She was a contributor to The New York Review of Books and The New Yorker. Ms. Didion and her late husband, John Gregory Dunne, co-authored several screenplays. In 2005, Didion received the Gold Medal for Belles Lettres from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, which is the highest honor the Academy awards to a writer.
Joan Didion passed away in 2021.
BY NELLA LARSEN
Irene Redfield is living an affluent, enviable life with her husband and children in the thriving African American enclave of Harlem in the 1920s. That is, until she runs into her childhood friend, Clare Kendry. Since they last saw each other, Clare, who is similarly light-skinned, has been “passing” for a white woman, married to a racist man who does not know about his wife’s real identity, which she has chosen to hide from the rest of the world. Irene is both fascinated and repulsed by Clare’s dangerous secret, and in turn, Clare yearns for Irene’s sense of ease and security with her Black identity and community, which Clare gave up in pursuit of a more advantageous life, and which she can never embrace again. As the two women grow close, Clare begins to insert herself and her deception into every part of Irene’s stable existence, and their complex reunion sets off a chain of events that dynamically alters both women forever.
In this psychologically gripping and chilling novel, Nella Larsen explores the blurriness of race, sacrifice, alienation, and desire that defined her own experience as a woman of mixed race, issues that still powerfully resonate today. Ultimately, Larsen forces us to consider whether we can ever truly choose who we are.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nella Larsen (1891–1964) was the author of several short stories and two novels, Quicksand and Passing. She received a Guggenheim Fellowship to write a third novel in 1930 but, unable to find a publisher for it, she disappeared from the literary scene and worked as a nurse in New York City.
“IN THE COUNTRY OF OTHERS”
BY LEILA SLIMANI
After World War II, Mathilde leaves France for Morocco to be with her husband, whom she met while he was fighting for the French army. A spirited young woman, she now finds herself a farmer’s wife, her vitality sapped by the isolation, the harsh climate, and the mistrust she inspires as a foreigner. But she refuses to be subjugated or confined to her role as mother of a growing family. As tensions mount between the Moroccans and the French colonists, Mathilde’s fierce desire for autonomy parallels her adopted country’s fight for independence in this lush and transporting novel about race, resilience, and women’s empowerment.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Leila Slimani is the bestselling author of The Perfect Nanny, one of The New York Times Book Review‘s 10 Best Books of 2018, for which she became the first Moroccan woman to win France’s most prestigious literary prize, the Goncourt. Her first novel, Adèle, about a sex-addicted woman in Paris, won the La Mamounia Prize for the best book by a Moroccan author written in French and gave rise to her nonfiction book Sex and Lies: True Stories of Women’s Intimate Lives in the Arab World.
A journalist and frequent commentator on women’s and human rights, Slimani spearheaded a campaign — for which she won the Simone de Beauvoir Prize for Women’s Freedom — to help Moroccan women speak out, as self-declared outlaws, against their country’s “unfair and obsolete laws.” She is French president Emmanuel Macron’s personal representative for the promotion of the French language and culture and was ranked #2 on Vanity Fair France’s annual list of the Fifty Most Influential French People in the World.
Born in Rabat, Morocco, in 1981, she now lives in Paris with her French husband and their two young children.
“NOT WITHOUT A FIGHT: TEN STEPS TO BECOMING YOUR OWN CHAMPION”
BY RAMLA ALI
Ramla Ali (1989) is a triple threat — humanitarian, model and boxer. Her life inside and outside the ring represents her ruthless refusal to quit and passion to fight for what she believes in.
In her first book, Ramla details ten key fights — a combination of life’s constant challenges and real bouts she’s endured both in and outside of the ring — that have shaped her remarkable rise to date.
From her arrival in England as a refugee to being drawn to the energy and spirit of her first boxercise class; from the adrenaline of her first amateur fights to how she often powered on alone, searching for a community of women like her, and her biggest win of all: letting love into her life.
Each relatable lesson is packed full of honesty and urgency, powering the reader on to become their own champion.