“The wind shows us how close to the edge we are.”

Didion 2The power of this final sharp sentence in the essay “The Santa Ana” by Joan Didion comes, in part, from the preceding sentence’s beautiful set-up: “Los Angeles weather is the weather of catastrophe, of apocalypse, and just as the reliably long and bitter winters of New England determine the way life is lived there, so the violence and the unpredictability of the Santa Ana affect the entire quality of life in Los Angeles, accentuate its impermanence, its unreliability.” This essay is part of an engaging, eclectic collection, which includes work from Jonathan Swift, David Sedaris, Barbara Ehrenreich and Francine Prose.

Jane E. Aaron and Ellen Kuhl Repetto, editors, 40 Model Essays: A Portable Anthology, Second Edition (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2013), 47.

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