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Book Cover for: The Uptown Local: Joy, Death, and Joan Didion: A Memoir, Cory Leadbeater

The Uptown Local: Joy, Death, and Joan Didion: A Memoir

Cory Leadbeater

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Based on 6 reviews on

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A brilliant debut memoir about a young writer--struggling with depression, family issues, and addiction--and his life-changing decade working for Joan Didion

As an aspiring novelist in his early twenties, Cory Leadbeater was presented with an opportunity to work for a well-known writer whose identity was kept confidential. Since the tumultuous days of childhood, Cory had sought refuge from the rougher parts of life in the pages of books. Suddenly, he found himself the personal assistant to a titan of literature: Joan Didion.

In the nine years that followed, Cory shared Joan's rarefied world, transformed not only by her blazing intellect but by her generous friendship and mentorship. Together they recited poetry in the mornings, dined with Supreme Court justices, attended art openings, smoked a single cigarette before bed.

But secretly, Cory was spiraling. He reeled from the death of a close friend. He spent his weekends at a federal prison, visiting his father as he served time for fraud. He struggled day after day to write the novel that would validate him as a real writer. And meanwhile, the forces of addiction and depression loomed large.

In hypnotic prose that pulses with life and longing, The Uptown Local explores the fault lines of class, family, loss, and creativity. It is a love letter to a cultural icon--and a moving testament to the relationships that sustain us in the eternal pursuit of a life worth living.

Book Details

  • Publisher: Ecco Press
  • Publish Date: Jun 11st, 2024
  • Pages: 224
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 8.55in - 5.83in - 0.84in - 0.68lb
  • EAN: 9780063371576
  • Categories: MemoirsLiterary FiguresBooks & Reading

About the Author

Leadbeater, Cory: -

Cory Leadbeater received his MFA in fiction from Columbia in 2014, where he was the recipient of the Jacob P. Waletzky Fellowship. Before that, he attended Trinity College, where he was the recipient of the Fred Pfeil Memorial Prize in Creative Writing, the John Curtis Underwood Memorial Prize in Poetry, and the Ruel Crompton Tuttle Prize in Scholarship. He lives in New Jersey with his family.

Critics’ reviews