Miami by Joan Didion


By Joan Didion

  • Publication Date: 2017-05-09
  • Genre: United States

Book Summary

An astonishing account of Cuban exiles, CIA informants, and cocaine traffickers in Florida by the New York Times–bestselling author of South and West.

In Miami, the National Book Award–winning author of The Year of Magical Thinking looks beyond postcard images of fluorescent waters, backlit islands, and pastel architecture to explore the murkier waters of a city on the edge.
From Fidel Castro and the Bay of Pigs invasion to Lee Harvey Oswald and the Kennedy assassination to Oliver North and the Iran–Contra affair, Joan Didion uncovers political intrigues and shadowy underworld connections, and documents the US government’s “seduction and betrayal” of the Cuban exile community in Dade County. She writes of hotels that offer “guerrilla discounts,” gun shops that advertise Father’s Day deals, and a real-estate market where “Unusual Security and Ready Access to the Ocean” are perks for wealthy homeowners looking to make a quick escape. With a booming drug trade, staggering racial and class inequities, and skyrocketing murder rates, Miami in the 1980s felt more like a Third World capital than a modern American city. Didion describes the violence, passion, and paranoia of these troubled times in arresting detail and “beautifully evocative prose” (The New York Times Book Review).
A vital report on an immigrant community traumatized by broken dreams and the cynicism of US foreign policy, Miami is a masterwork of literary journalism whose insights are timelier and more important than ever.

“The world Miss Didion describes in beautifully evocative prose is that familiar landscape we have learned to expect from her novels and essays, a world of menace and elliptical connections. . . . The story [she] tells is a compassionate tale of Washington’s ‘seduction and betrayal’ of the Cuban exiles.” —The New York Times Book Review
“In book after book, essay after essay, in fiction as well as nonfiction, she writes and thinks with exceptional rigor and originality, makes connections both abstract and specific with skill and grace, and brilliantly marshals masses of detail. . . . Miami [is] Joan Didion’s most ambitious nonfiction work yet. . . . A brilliant book.” —The Washington Post
“[Didion] has an excellent eye for detail, a sense of the phrase or image that tells the whole story. . . . An insightful book.” —The Christian Science Monitor
“Finely tuned . . . [Miami] turns much sunny light into a murky underwater darkness full of sharks and evil shadows.” —The New York Times
“To understand America . . . I recommend Miami.” —New Statesman
“Didion’s Miami is a kaleidoscope of impressions, and a litany of violence, intrigue, vengeance, political manipulation, and broken dreams.” —The Boston Globe
“By combining her novelist’s ear and journalist’s eye, Didion gives the reader a sense of the never-ending feeling of exile that is locked in the heart of every refugee. . . . Masterful.” —Library Journal
Praise for Joan Didion
“She has been an articulate witness to the most stubborn and intractable truths of our time, a memorable voice, partly eulogistic, partly despairing; always in control.” —Joyce Carol Oates, The New York Times Book Review

Joan Didion is the author of five novels, ten works of nonfiction, and a play. Her books include Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Play It as It Lays, The White Album, The Year of Magical Thinking, and, most recently, South and West: From a Notebook. Born in Sacramento, California, she lives in New York City.

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