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Last year, seemingly out of nowhere, an excerpt of Joan Didion’s notes from the Patty Hearst trial, for a piece she never completed, appeared in the New York Review of Books. It was a pleasant surprise, the gift of a passenger seat ride in Didion’s car. It also included a Didion-ism so incredible, so encapsulating that it rolls through my mind with a striking regularity: “By the time I started going to Hawaii the Royal...