Yesterday saw the release of Joan Didion’s newest memoir, Blue Nights. Didion is the master of the memoir, but more specifically, she is the master of the genre of the memoir of loss, of teaching us something through her exquisitely rendered grief, of sharing her family and heart. The book got us to thinking about other wonderful examples of memoirs in this genre, which just seems to get more and more popular, despite its inherent sadness, so we’ve compiled a list of a few of our favorites. Click through to see our list of our ten favorite memoirs about loss, and let us know your own favorites in the comments.
Blue Nights, Joan Didion
The blue nights, according to Didion in this heartbreaking memoir of the life and death of her daughter Quintana Roo, are those long evenings of summer when the sky holds on to its deep color for what seems impossibly long. As she writes, “During the blue nights you think the end of day will never come. As the blue nights draw to a close (and they will, and they do) you experience an actual chill, an apprehension of illness, at the moment you first notice: the blue light is going, the days are already shortening, the summer is gone. This book is called ‘Blue Nights’ because at the time I began it I found my mind turning increasingly to illness, to the end of promise, the dwindling of the days, the inevitability of the fading, the dying of the brightness. Blue nights are the opposite of the dying of the brightness, but they are also its warning.”