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Joan Didion dead at 87

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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. She was 87.

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

“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 honors and are considered modern classics,” Penguin Random House said in a statement. 

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Joan Didion attends The American Theatre Wing’s 2012 Annual Gala at The Plaza Hotel on Sept. 24, 2012 in New York City.  
(Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

Tiny and frail even as a young woman, with large, sad eyes, she was a novelist, journalist, playwright and essayist. 

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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” have become standard reading and “Slouching Towards Bethlehem,” and “Play It As It Lays” became essential collections of literary journalism. 

Writer Joan Didion receives an Honorary Doctor of Letters during commencement ceremonies June 4, 2009 in Harvard Yard in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
(Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

“The Year of Magical Thinking” is a classic work about grief that won the National Book Award. 

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