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Goodbye To All That

4.48  ·  Rating details ·  281 ratings  ·  29 reviews
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Dec 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had a lump in my throat when I was reading this. I think I still have it.

I was 23 when I first moved to Bombay. You see, if you know Bombay, you'd also know the houses are tiny, too many people crammed into a 2 bhk, with three people sharing the living room. There is no living room. But there was something about Bombay. My friends from college, when they visited, said they didn't like it: "ah, how tiring" but I told them this and I am putting it down here: Bombay is an experience, most simila
Jan 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
No one can love, romance and serenade New York and loss as much as Joan Didion can.
Matthew Mousseau
Nov 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: essays-theory
How many miles to Babylon?
Three score miles and and ten—
Can I get there by candlelight?
Yes, and back again—
If your feet are nimble and light
You can get there by candlelight.

It is easy to see the beginnings of things, and harder to see the ends. I can remember now, with a clarity that makes the nerves in the back of my neck constrict, when New York began for me, but I cannot lay my finger upon the moment it ended, can never cut through the ambiguities and second starts and broken resolves to the
Meera Jakkli
Jun 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely Delightful
Dec 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It is easy to see the beginnings of things, and harder to see the ends. I can remember now, with a clarity that makes the nerves in the back of my neck constrict, when New York began for me, but I cannot lay my finger upon the moment it ended, can never cut through the ambiguities and second starts and broken resolves to the exact place on the page where the heroine is no longer as optimistic as she once was.
Oct 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I chanced upon a post about Joan Didion's Goodbye To All That by Joan Didionon DailyLit and it got me curious enough to get my hands on a copy of Didion’s classic essay.

In Goodbye to all that, Joan dives into the narrative with hilarious observations, witty remarks and also painful truths. The point she is trying to make is this — the throbbing sense of disillusionment and resignation that came along with her eight-year stay in New York. But the best part is the purple prose doesn’t stay in New
Mar 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
“Goodbye to all that” (1968), contained in the first collection of nonfiction writing “Slouching Toward Bethlehem”, is an essay written by the American author Joan Didion, best known for exploring the individual and social fragmentation in her literary novels and literary Journalism. Part autobiographical, part novel with an accurate feelings description, this essay is about a young girl’s inner journey and her adult changing perspective when considering the value of beauty. The author writes ab ...more
Oct 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Short short story about growing old and growing over New York; just a few pages, but amazing ones! The pain and joy of years going by and changing you without your notice, the freedom and inconsistency and immediacy of youth, it's all there and it's exactly as I know it but could never ever explain. Lovely! ...more
Nov 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was the slap-in-the-face text for me. I recommend it to people at the age of 23-27.
May 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting essay about Didion and her experiences in New York City.
L Oliveira
Mar 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Lewis Millholland
Jun 18, 2019 rated it liked it
In the third-to-last chapter of "Hemingway's Boat" Paul Hendrickson mentions this essay as the "famous leaving New York story" (or something close enough to that). Within the scope of his book it was a throwaway line but since I'm planning my own good-bye it excited me. And it's pretty good. It's Hemingway-esque in its simple language and fear of the comma, and when Didion explains that Easterners will never understand what New York means to people growing up in the West or the South I immediate ...more
Jess Debanné
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
beautiful, beautiful essay about didion’s initial love and ultimate departure from new york city. this was so interesting to read as a twenty three year old who just moved to new york - and got me thinking about such things as overwhelm, disillusionment, withdrawal. what made my heart thump: “[...] New York was no mere city. It was instead an infinitely romantic notion, the mysterious nexus of all love and money and power, the shining and perishable dream itself. To think of ‘living’ there was t ...more
Aug 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is just one essay out of a longer book. It was a little hard to read: Didion wrote in long, run-on sentences, but somehow, around the 60% mark, I understood exactly where she was going with this piece. Essentially, it's about leaving New York - but it's more about the process of falling in and then out of love with New York. Or perhaps - that leaving is something metaphysical as well as concrete. Not the easiest of personal essays to read but very interesting ...more
Dec 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I still have this romanticization towards New York after have finished reading, no matter how Didion wrote this essay of her departure of the city. Because the essay per se adds up the imaginary notion of New York in my head, and since I have never physically visited it, I would love to give the place a try, to visit; or, for a brief moment, to live there.
Brandy Wells
Feb 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2021
“ is distinctly possible to stay too long at the Fair.”

This essay really captures that feeling of being at the end of your 20s, left with the aftermath of all the decisions you made and the realization that (perhaps) it’s time to stop memorizing flight times and commit to a piece or two of furniture.
Lucy Apple
Mar 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow!! Personal essays/memoirs are definitely my favorite thing to read, and this is a classic that didn’t disappoint. It also related on a personal level as someone who moved to New York around the same age as Didion and has so far experienced a lot of the same feelings she has. She captured the city so well in the opening and wow this essay was just so beautiful.
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow! This one hit me in the gut. I lived for a time in New York when I was younger and this essay brought it all back. Now I understand why this piece is included in some many collected anthologies of great essays.
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ensayo, 2019, non-fiction
Hay algo que se me escapa con este ensayo, no alcanzo a distinguir qué es, pero ese algo me gusta, trata de los 8 años de Joan Didion viviendo en NYC, y básicamente explica de una forma demasiado sutil su partida de la gran manzana. Corto, conciso y muy bueno.
May 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Felt like an air of profoundness was forcefully injected in, giving the impression that the author needed to prove how smart they were to the reader. It's unfortunate, that feeling of snobbery distracted me from an otherwise great piece. ...more
Oct 17, 2020 rated it liked it
a nice break from everything i've ever known ...more
Dec 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
As somebody who had experienced moving to a new place and moved away again, Goodbye To All That has such a weird spot personally in me.
Sep 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Jul 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
on growing old and growing away and growing out of mindsets and people and places, perhaps
Nadiya Bilous
Dec 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this story!!!! This is awesome! Author is wonderful !
Alida F.
I guess I could sum up my take on Joan Didion's writing with: "Beautifully written, though oozing with ennui", but I'm always up for short stories set in NYC and (not "or") expressing some sense of bewilderment (as in, "I keep going from party to party and from lover to lover and I am greatly appreciated at work, I'm pretty, and also I made it to Manhattan but know what, I'm so lonely all the time") no matter how subtly irritating, so I can safely say I liked it. ...more
I. “Histoire improbable de la fantaisie / Proche de l'équateur à un point précis.”

II. When she drove off, I danced under glowing lamplight in that humid air while singing goodbye, see you soon!, cicadas thrumming all the while. Blue silk against my skin. The night I arrived: ivory lightning and torrent rain like a silent nightmare. I gorged myself on black cherries and candied walnuts. Lucid landscapes of the yawning bridge that never met us still haunt me.

III. “You like beach scents, don’t you?
Mary Gael
this is my fav essay ever
rated it it was amazing
Oct 31, 2018
Paul Vittay
rated it really liked it
Mar 31, 2017
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Joan Didion was born in California and lives in New York City. She's best known for her novels and her literary journalism.

Her novels and essays explore the disintegration of American morals and cultural chaos, where the overriding theme is individual and social fragmentation. A sense of anxiety or dread permeates much of her work.

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