Reflecting on Joan Didion’s CA roots and significance of a family potato masher

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The potato masher that was passed through five generations in Didion’s family was donated to Pacific University in Oregon. Photo by Emily Johns / Pacific University.

Two days before Christmas, writer Joan Didion passed away at the age of 87. Since her death, scores of essayists have been looking at her legacy, in particular her affinity for dissecting California and Californians. Few writers have loved a place so dearly and ripped it apart so thoroughly as did Didion. Los Angeles Times arts columnist Carolina Miranda offers a thread to pull to remember this towering writer. Miranda’s remembrance turns on a simple potato masher.




Evan Kleiman