A Tribute to John Gregory Dunne

John Gregory DunneI’ve finally put aside my hesitation (and put down the other book I was reading) to dive into The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. While an extremely difficult topic – it follows Didion as she deals with her husband’s sudden death – it is beautiful in that it’s a tribute to her late husband and fellow writer John Gregory Dunne.

I haven’t gotten that far in the book yet, but one topic she’s mentioned a few times is Dunne’s obituary. Although she knew it was being written, she couldn’t read it, feeling that it made things too final.

So yesterday after I put the book down, I picked up the computer. I wanted to read this obituary. I’m woefully literally-uneducated it seems, because I really didn’t know anything about Dunne despite his being a pretty well-known author.

His obituary in The New York Times opens with:

John Gregory Dunne, the brashly insightful novelist, journalist, and screenwriter who wrote novels and successful works of nonfiction crammed with pungent dialogue, lavish brutality and vivid glimpses of the Hollywood demimonde, died on Tuesday evening in his Manhattan apartment. He was 71.

From there it goes on for three internet pages, discussing his achievements of both the personal and professional kind. It is sad, but makes me interested to learn more about him from a closer, more personal source. I’m hoping to at least find a good love story buried in this tragic book.

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