Joan Didion, R.I.P.

Joan Didion attends The American Theatre Wing’s 2012 Annual Gala at The Plaza Hotel in New York City, September 24, 2012. (Jemal Countess/Getty Images)
Her credo was that real Americans can only fall from grace, and any journey in the other direction is simply wrong.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE W hen I wandered into a bookstore in Palm Beach, Fla., a few weeks ago, I found a collection of modern Christmas short stories. It included an entry by Joan Didion. “That’s funny,” I thought. “I didn’t know she celebrates such things.” And, sure enough, the story ends in tears. I wasn’t surprised when Didion celebrated this Christmas early in her own, rather morbid way: She succumbed to Parkinson’s disease on Thursday in her Manhattan apartment.

That news came as a shock to no one else, either. Didion was 87 years old and wispy. She’d been effectively retired since 2011, when she

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