First Review of Blue Nights Appears Online

The first review of Joan Didion’s new book Blue Nights, which will not be released until November 1st 2011, has appeared online.

The Kirkus Reviews website calls it a “slim somber classic” in which Didion “considers her daughter’s death and her inevitable own.”

The short review includes a few revealing details about the content of book, including the following:

Didion tests Quintana’s childhood poems and scribblings for hints of her own failings as a mother, and she voices her helplessness at the hands of doctors. “I put the word ‘diagnosis’ in quotes because I have not yet seen that case in which a ‘diagnosis’ led to a ‘cure,’ ” she writes. The author also ponders her own mortality, and she does so with heartbreaking specificity. A metal folding chair, as she describes it, is practically weaponized, ready to do her harm should she fall out of it; a fainting spell leaves her bleeding and helpless on the floor of her bedroom.

The book cover of Blue Nights

In further news, the cover design of Blue Nights has been released by Knopf, which will publish the work in Canada and the US. The letters “N” and “O” are picked out in a lighter blue font in a twist on the design of Didion’s previous memoir, The Year of Magical Thinking, which highlighted the letters that spell Didion’s late husband’s name, John.

In an interview with The New York Times in 2005, Didion noted her satisfaction with that book cover, designed by Carol Devine Carson, the Art Director at Knopf. It is not clear whether Devine Carson also worked on Blue Nights, though it seems extremely likely that this is the case.

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