Award-Winning American Writer Joan Didion Dies at 87

Award-Winning American Writer Joan Didion Dies at 87 Award-Winning American Writer Joan Didion Dies at 87 Joan Didion attends the American Theatre Wing's Annual Gala at The Plaza Hotel in New York City on Sept. 24, 2012. (Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

COLLEEN LONG Thursday, 23 December 2021 12:13 PM

Joan Didion, the revered author and essayist whose provocative social commentary and detached, methodical literary voice made her a uniquely clear-eyed critic of a uniquely turbulent time, has died. She was 87.

Didion's publisher Penguin Random House announced the author's death on Wednesday. She died from complications from Parkinson's disease, the company said.

“Didion was one of the country’s most trenchant writers and astute observers. Her best-selling works of fiction, commentary, and memoir have received numerous honors and are considered modern classics,” Penguin Random House said in a statement.

Tiny and frail even as a young woman, with large, sad eyes, she was a novelist, journalist, playwright, and essayist.

She was known for her cool and ruthless dissection of culture and politics, from hippies to presidential campaigns to the kidnapping of Patty Hearst. Her essay collection “The White Album” have become standard reading and “Slouching Towards Bethlehem,” and “Play It As It Lays” became essential collections of literary journalism.

“The Year of Magical Thinking” is a classic work about grief that won the National Book Award.