The Year of Magical Thinking | Study Guide

Joan Didion

Download a PDF to print or study offline.

Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic


Course Hero. "The Year of Magical Thinking Study Guide." Course Hero. 18 Jan. 2018. Web. 8 Aug. 2020. <>.

In text

(Course Hero)



Course Hero. (2018, January 18). The Year of Magical Thinking Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved August 8, 2020, from

In text

(Course Hero, 2018)



Course Hero. "The Year of Magical Thinking Study Guide." January 18, 2018. Accessed August 8, 2020.


Course Hero, "The Year of Magical Thinking Study Guide," January 18, 2018, accessed August 8, 2020,

The Year of Magical Thinking | Characters

Character Description
Joan Didion Joan Didion is a talented and extremely successful writer who often writes about her own life experiences. She was married for almost 40 years to fellow writer John Gregory Dunne, who unexpectedly died in 2003 while their adopted daughter Quintana was seriously ill and hospitalized. Read More
John Gregory Dunne Didion's husband and Quintana's father, Dunne was a talented and highly successful writer until his sudden death from heart disease in 2003. Read More
Quintana Quintana was Didion and Dunne's only child, adopted at birth. In December 2003 she became seriously ill and was hospitalized. Read More
Gertrude and Joe Black Gertrude and Joe Black were a retired married couple who Didion and Dunne met in Indonesia, and Dunne saw them as a model of service. After Dunne's death Didion remembers she and Dunne had hoped to be able to travel together and do what they liked when they retired, just as the Blacks did.
Rosemary Breslin Rosemary Breslin was married to Tony Dunne, John Dunne's nephew. Tony and Rosemary were very close to Didion and Dunne, and Rosemary died a few months after Dunne did, after being seriously ill for many years.
Didion's doctor An old family friend, he helps Didion during her grieving.
Dominique Dunne Dominique Dunne was Nick Dunne's daughter, John's niece, who was murdered in Los Angeles many years earlier.
Lenny Dunne Lenny was Didion's sister-in-law, married to Nick Dunne. She was a more "typical" wife than Didion.
Nick Dunne Dunne's brother Nick, also a writer, was one of the first people Didion notified about Dunne's death.
Tony Dunne John Dunne's nephew Tony and his wife Rosemary were very close to Didion, Dunne, and Quintana. Tony helped Didion with Dunne's funeral and was the one to notify her about Quintana's collapse and subsequent surgery in Los Angeles.
Gerry Gerry married Quintana, Didion and Dunne's daughter, less than five months before she became gravely ill. Didion writes very little about him but clearly appreciates his deep love for her daughter.
Lynn Nesbit Lynn, Didion and Dunne's literary agent, helped Didion on the night of Dunne's death.
Susan Traylor Susan, Quintana's best friend since age three, was part of Quintana's wedding, Dunne's funeral, and many other key events in their lives.
Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about The Year of Magical Thinking? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!

Stuck? We have tutors online 24/7 who can help you get unstuck.
A+ icon
Ask Expert Tutors You can ask You can ask You can ask (will expire )
Answers in as fast as 15 minutes