The publisher Knopf has released more details about the content of Didion’s new memoir, Blue Nights.
The book will focus on her daughter, Quintana Roo Dunne, who died just before Didion’s previous memoir, The Year of Magical Thinking, was published. It is said to address their relationship with “stunning frankness.”
More generally, the book will speak to the anxieties Didion experienced about having and raising a child, and also about the aging process.
This is the description of Blue Nights which Knopf has provided for promotional purposes:
Blue Nights opens on July 26, 2010, as Didion thinks back to Quintana’s wedding in New York seven years before. Today would be her wedding anniversary. This fact triggers vivid snapshots of Quintana’s childhood—in Malibu, in Brentwood, at school in Holmby Hills. Reflecting on her daughter but also on her role as a parent, Didion asks the candid questions any parent might about how she feels she failed either because cues were missed or perhaps displaced. Seamlessly woven in are incidents Didion sees as underscoring her own age, something she finds hard to acknowledge, much less accept.
The derivation of the title has also been clarified by the publisher. “Blue Nights” alludes to the luminous hours which follow the summer solstice. Didion describes its significance in the course of the book as “the opposite of the dying of the brightness, but also its warning.”