Interrogating Absurdities

Maud Newton interviews Joan Didion (one of my favorite writers). Didion won the National Humanities Medal this year:

Joan Didion has devoted her life to noticing things other people strive not to see. Over the past half-century she has investigated and interrogated the absurdities of contemporary American life—in five novels and five screenplays, and in thirteen books of nonfiction that sprawl across the genre, from personal essays and memoir, to criticism and political reportage, and to hybrids of these that have stretched our cultural understanding of what nonfiction can be.

Her language is a marvel: elegant, precise, and straightforward. In person, as on the page, she says exactly what she thinks, and in exactly the number of words required. Hemingway was a formative inspiration. “Writing is the only way I’ve found that I can be aggressive,” she once said. “I’m totally in control of this tiny, tiny world.”