Joan Didion, Author of an Acclaimed Book About Miami, Dies at 87

Joan Didion died today.

In 1987, she published a nonfiction work called Miami. It was a penetrating work, as full as intrigue as her novel Democracy, which had appeared three years earlier. With her attraction to tropical climes, Didion excavated what she felt was an underreported subject: the role of Cuban emigrees in the political and business life of the city. It’s difficult to conceive of a time when this topic had been underserved, but that was Didion, with her eye on what others missed.

No one was more central or essential to my life as a writer and editor. When I was in college, I picked up one of her books from the shelf in a bookstore and never looked back. She did it all—novels, memoirs, social critique, screenwriting, travel writing, political writing. I wrote my PhD dissertation on her. I went to hear her speak and she signed the draft. I reviewed Where I Was From for Time Out New York. I reviewed The Year of Magical Thinking for the Boston Globe and the Star-Ledger. I modeled my op-ed, “Slouching Toward Laguna,” for the LA Times on her essay, “Some Dreamers of the Golden Dream.” For Poets & Writers, I penned “The Art of Reading Joan Didion: Who We Are, Who We Used to Be,” which was noted in The Best American Essays (2007). And I referenced Didion in the pages of SFBW and probably every magazine I’ve had the good fortune to edit, because no one understood American society better or wrote about it more deftly or with more shimmering precision. But even my creative nonfiction that wasn’t explicitly about Didion and her work was deeply influenced by her sensibility, her craft, her penetrating, prescient prose, and the writer’s role in society as exemplified by her.

Miami is one of Didion’s lesser-known works, but essential reading for anyone who wants to understand more about the particular history of the thriving, evolving metropolis that has become the most consequential Latin American city, among its distinctions in so many other areas.

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky



Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.