The Author (Joan Didion) - This person was a well-known and critically respected novelist and screenwriter who became a widow.
John Gregory Dunne - This person was a noted writer and screenwriter who died from cardiac arrest.
Quintana - This person first suffered a severe case of pneumonia, then required neurosurgery.
Gerry - This person was devoted to their spouse during illness.
Emily Post - This person was a legendary, turn-of-the-nineteenth-century expert on etiquette and manners.
Medical Professionals - These were people in the book frequently portrayed as arrogant, touchy and insensitive to patients and their families.
Friends and Family - These were people who are compassionate, supportive, and generous after a death in the family.
Alcestis - This person was a character in Classical Greek mythology.
Joe and Gertrude Black - These people were living examples of people who lived intellectually and spiritually adventurous lives.
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