Linda Hall

Linda Hall is an assistant professor of English at Skidmore College.

Recent Articles

The Last Thing She Wanted

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion ( Knopf, 227 pages, $23.95 ) “Milk it, but no excessive melodramatics,” John Gregory Dunne tells us he wrote to himself in 1987, shortly after his doctors declared him a candidate for a “catastrophic cardiac event.” In his 1989 memoir, Harp , he reports that he also drafted a note about procedures that were to be followed should he suddenly die. Calvin Trillin was to deliver the news to Dunne's only child, Quintana Roo. “[I]t was,” Dunne wrote, “as if my wife, whom I jauntily called ‘the little widow,' could not manage on her own.” Dunne deleted the note; his wife was Joan Didion, and he knew her toughness better than anyone. When his bad heart did kill him, at age 71 on December 30, 2003, neither Trillin nor Didion could inform Quintana. Diagnosed first as having the flu, then pneumonia, she had entered septic shock and lay in an induced coma at Beth Israel North Hospital in Manhattan. Dunne's obituary in The New York Times mentioned only...