“Life changes in the instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.”
Such is part of the opening statement in Joan Didion’s acclaimed memoir, The Year of Magical Thinking, in which she chronicles the sudden death of her beloved husband of forty years, John Gregory Dunne.
John slumps over at the dinner table in the throes of a heart attack which kills him almost instantly. Didion repeats the above quote throughout the book, mantra-like, as if she’s trying to convince herself of the reality of what’s happened.