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Joan Didion's California36:19

This article is more than 15 years old.
photoOn the eve of the California recall election, the Golden State feels edgy and more than a little ornery, wrapped once again in its own special provenance and its consequences. Joan Didion's continent-crossing ancestors came early to California. The state, and its state of mind, have figured prominently in the life and work of the celebrated novelist and essayist.

Now, at 69, Joan Didion is turning around to fundamentally reconsider California, from its founding mythologies, to her own family's role, to her own writing on the state. In her new memoir, "Where I Was From," Didion challenges all of it, demanding a reassessment of what California was and is.

Click the "Listen" link to hear Joan Didion make the case on why Californa is not sure it has ever properly understood itself.


Joan Didion, author, "Where I Was From"

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst and a senior editor at The Atlantic Monthly

This program aired on October 6, 2003.

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