More than half a century after publishing the collections that established her reputation as a gimlet-eyed cultural critic—Slouching Towards Bethlehem and The White Album—Joan Didion continues to be an outsize influence and figure of fascination in the literary world.
In The White Album, Didion wrote that “a place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively… loves it so radically that he remakes it in his image.” As evidenced by the new book Slouching Towards Los Angeles: Living and Writing by Joan Didion’s Light, that notion goes both ways.
Edited by Steffie Nelson, Slouching Towards Los Angeles is an anthology of essays by 25 mostly LA-based writers, each of whom contributes a unique take on Didion’s canon and legacy. As Nelson writes in the book’s introduction, “Some meet Didion on the L.A. freeways or Franklin Avenue. Others are more connected through inner landscapes. Some gaze at a photograph—a fleeting instant captured in Hollywood or Malibu—until it speaks its truth.”
Assembled with the assistance of Slouching Towards Los Angeles and a few other sources, attached is a selective tour of the city as Didion knew it—put on a pair of big sunglasses, hop into a vintage Corvette, and slouch along.
- Eve Babitz’s guide to Los Angeles
- Literary Los Angeles
- Mapping 13 key locations in the 1969 Manson family murders