Good Reading : March 2008
foreword THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING BY JOAN DIDION based on her best-selling memoir Over the course of one year celebrated American essayist and novelist Joan Didion lost her soul-mate and their only child. A love letter to a child and a tribute to an extraordinary, unconventional marriage, The Year Of Magical Thinking captures the compassion, humour and bewilderment of a ﬁercely intelligent woman whose world lurches suddenly from the ordinary to the unimaginable. ‘REMARKABLE. IT WILL BREAK YOUR HEART.’ THE NEW YORK TIMES with ROBYN NEVIN director CATE BLANCHETT associate director JENNIFER FLOWERS lighting designer NICK SCHLIEPER Originally Produced by Scott Rudin, Roger Berlind, Debra Black, Daryl Roth and The Schubert Organization. Executive Producers: Stuart Thompson, John Barlow WHARF 1, SYDNEY THEATRE COMPANY FROM 25 MARCH 2008 bookings (02) 9250 1777 ticketek 132 849 SYDNEYTHEATRE.COM.AU/MAGICAL associate sponsor Sydney Theatre Company presents ‘THE THEATRICAL EVENT OF THE SEASON – AND RIGHTLY SO.’ THE OBSERVER I’m writing this fore- word with a heavy heart, because it is my last for gr. For purely personal reasons, I have resigned and will be leaving the magazine when this issue goes to the printer. Well, I’ll no longer be the editor, but I’m very much looking forward to continuing to write for the magazine, so it isn’t a total ‘goodbye’. I have enjoyed this job more, I think, than any other in my (very long) career. I have always been involved in books and publishing and have relished the interaction with authors, booksellers and publisher colleagues, but this last two-and-a- half years at gr has been made extra special by you, the readers.You are a fantastic bunch, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed talking to you, writing to you, and occasionally spar ring with you! I’ll miss you. But things won’t change so very much, because the new editor is very well known to you all: Rowena Cseh, the owner and publisher of the magazine. Rowena will be ably assisted by Paula Grunseit, a writer, reviewer, editor and librarian of long standing. If Rowena and Paula enjoy their roles half as much as I have mine, everyone is in for a cracking good time! This month’s issue is, as usual, crammed with things bookish and writerly. I spoke to the creators of the fabulous ‘Spiderwick Chronicles’, now a major film (page 12). Ben Neparstek (who seems to get younger, not older, as time goes by − have you made a pact with the devil, Ben?) talked to Siri Hustvedt, bestselling American writer and, coincidentally, wife of bestselling American writer Paul Auster.They are both in Australia this month to attend Adelaide Writers’Week, whose director, Rose Wight, features in ‘Me, my shelf, I’ on page 9. Grant Hansen, whose erudite articles about Australian history books have appeared over the past couple of years, brings us up to date in his latest round-up of the genre on page 18, and we hear from authors Jesse Blackadder (page 21) and Mireille Juchau (page 52) about writing their latest novels. Sarah Seeberg tells us about the English language bookshops in her adopted city, Basel, on page 22, and Desmond O’Grady visits the splendid Alexandria Library on page 43. A glorious book featuring a unique natural history collection is our coffee table selection on page 46, and the book bite is the tantalising first chapter of The Art of Love by Elizabeth Edmondson. Well, there it is. That’s yer lot from me. I had to leave, really, before the photograph at the top of this column (taken in 2005) ear ned me a visit from the fraud squad. Farewell, and fare well.