A Book of Common Prayer Author:Joan Didion "A Book of Common Prayer" is told by Grace Strasser-Mendana, an American woman left by her husband's death "in putative control of 59.8 percent of the arable land and about the same percentage of the decision-making process" in a country called Boca Grande. The story Grace tells is that of Charlotte Douglas, "a child of comfortable family in th... more »e temperate zone," who believes the world is peopled with others not unlike herself, and whose faith that things will turn out all right is unshaken by a first marriage to Warren, a man of dissolute and unpredictable charm, and a second marriage to Leonard, an activist lawyer-celebrity who divides his time between big money and radical politics. The only event in Charlotte's life to resist her "revisions and erasures" is her daughter, Marin--Marin, whose disappearance forces Charlotte into a flight of her own that takes her finally to Boca Grande.
In Boca Grande, Charlotte is an outsider, involved in the complex politics and rivalries of the country's leading family almost by the accident of her presence, concentrating on the dangers of her past in a present that is even more dangerous than she knows.
The exploration of that past and that present is accomplished with the dexterity and the precision that are the hallmarks of Joan Didion, whose gifts of observation and total mastery of the subtlties of human emotions and relationships have never been used to more devastating effect.« less