A Book of Common Prayer

Joan Didion

Set in the ruined Central American nation of Boca Grande, A Book of Common Prayer is the story of two American women and their conflicting experiences of wealth, politics and personal history. We follow the intriguing life of Grace Strasser-Mendana – an American expatriate and member of one of Boca Grande’s most influential families – alongside the story of Charlotte Douglas, whose daughter Medin has run off with a group of Marxist radicals. What follows is an exploration of the women’s ability to make sense of the behaviour that surrounds them, as their worlds are made hazy by the atmosphere of evil and innocence that envelops their strained and entangled lives. Writing with her inimitable mix of candid emotional frankness and razor-sharp political astuteness, Joan Didion’s third novel is at once utterly particular whilst emblematic of an age of unscrupulous authority and seemingly inevitable bloodshed.

Reviews of A Book of Common Prayer

  • ‘An articulate witness to the most stubborn and intractable truths of our time, a memorable voice’. New York Times Book Review

    ‘A pioneer of New Journalism, she brilliantly chronicled America’s cultural and political life.’ Guardian

    ‘She writes with a razor’ John Leonard, New York Times

    ‘Didion’s mordant lucidity is like L.A. sunlight, a thing so bright sometimes it hurts.’ Time

    PRAISE FOR THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING
    ‘Her poetic writing has a spell-like charm that is profoundly affecting.’ Observer

    ‘This brave book maps a year…when the world flipped over to expose the underside of cool where things go bad.’ The Times

    ‘The subject may be bleak, but her tender treatment makes it a book that we should all read.’ Daily Mail