The crisp, distinctive voice of Vanessa Redgrave, star of stage and screen, will be heard on the audiobook recording of Blue Nights.
Close followers of Joan Didion’s work will recall that Redgrave was the actress cast to play the role of Didion in The Year of Magical Thinking: The Play when it opened on Broadway in March, 2007.
Then, in 2009, Vanessa Redgrave’s daughter, the actress Natasha Richardson died in a skiing accident in Canada. The tragic circumstances appeared to mirror those presented in Didion’s play, which covered a timeline of greater breadth than The Year of Magical Thinking, the memoir it was based on, and encompassed the fact of the death of Didion’s daughter, Quintana Roo Dunne.
The resemblance of their personal tragedies seemed to give rise to a close friendship between the two women. Didion was reported at the time to have visited Richardson in hospital in New York shortly before she died. She also attended the premiere of Driving Miss Daisy, the first play Redgrave appeared in following Richardson’s death.
And now, Redgrave is to narrate the audiobook version of Blue Nights, Didion’s new memoir which takes Quintana as its principle subject. In it, Didion interrogates her own role in her daughter’s life and death, and attempts to express the emotions felt by a parent grieving for her child.
“The fear is not for what is lost. The fear is for what is still to be lost. You may see nothing still to be lost. Yet there is no day in her life on which I do not see her,” Didion writes.
These words will doubtless take on an even greater charge when spoken by Redgrave.
The audiobook will be released on the 1st of November, 2011, the same day as the print edition, and will retail for $16.50 on Amazon.