Sunday, May 02, 2010

A Year

As it is the end of the semester, I have some time to read. Three books are involving me right now, or recently have. I just finished Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking. It is a beautiful book. Not many writers have had the nerve or the skill to delve into the real meaning and pain of grief. C.S. Lewis did (and she mentions him), as did Lewis' disciple, Sheldon Vanauken. Both books should be read repeatedly, as should Ms. Didion's.

I am especially amazed by my joy in reading the book because she and her husband were the type of people with whom I would have no "truck" (New York pseudo-intellectual writers) and she is quite honest that, despite her family's involvement with St. John the Divine Episcopal, she has no belief in God or the afterlife.

These two things make the book all the more sad to me.

However, the writing is brilliant. I highly recommend the book. The title comes from her failure to give away her husband's clothes several months after his sudden death. She would say to herself, "If he comes back, he wouldn't have any shoes to wear." That was her "magical thinking,"--that he would come back, that he was just temporarily gone away. That phrase so well describes the aftermath of a loved one's death.

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