“All I mean is that I was very young in New York, and that at some point the golden rhythm was broken, and I am not that young anymore.”
—Joan Didion, “Goodbye to All That,” Slouching Towards Bethlehem
IN 1967, JOAN DIDION WROTE AN ESSAY called Goodbye to All That, a work of such candid and penetrating prose that it soon became the gold standard for personal essays. Like no other story before it, Didion’s tale of loving and leaving New York captured the mesmerizing allure Manhattan has always had for writers, poets, and wandering spirits.
In this captivating collection, 28 writers take up Didion’s literary legacy by sharing their own New York stories. Their essays often begin as love stories do, with the passion of something newly discovered—the crush of subway crowds, the streets filled with manic energy, and the sudden, unblinking certainty that this is the only place on Earth where one can become exactly who she is meant to be.
They also share the grief that comes like a gut-punch, when the metropolis loses its magic and the pressures of New York’s frenetic life wear thin on even the most fervent dwellers. As friends move away, rents soar, and love — still — remains just out of reach, each writer’s goodbye to New York is singular and universal, like New York itself.
With Cheryl Strayed, Dani Shapiro, Emma Straub, Ann Hood, and more.