'One of the country's most astute observers': American writer Joan Didion dies aged 87

Writer Joan Didion has died at the age of 87.
Writer Joan Didion has died at the age of 87. Copyright Kathy Willens/AP2005
Copyright Kathy Willens/AP2005
By Euronews with AP
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The legendary author and essayist, lauded for her commentary on social unrest in America, has passed away.


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 aged 87.

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

One of the 'most trenchant writers and astute observers'

Jessica Hill/AP
Joan Didion, right, receives an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters from Yale University, 2011.Jessica Hill/AP

“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 honours 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” has 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.

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