Inez Victor and Jack Lovett sit talking in a bar outside Honolulu, Hawaii, in the spring of 1975; on the television they watch the evacuations of South Vietnam. Lovett recalls certain memories: the pink sky at dawn and the smell of the air after the rain during the Pacific nuclear tests of 1952-1953, and an image of Inez, a seventeen-year-old girl, flowers pinned in her hair, and their encounter in Jakarta, Indonesia, during Harry Victor’s political campaign in 1969.
Joan Didion, an author, admits to have been thinking of Inez and Jack, and of the events that led up to and transpired during 1975. She confesses that the story of Inez and Jack was not the tale she had intended to tell, for her initial interest was in Inez’s family history: its rise to fortune as one of the most prominent families in Hawaii, in certain events that led to the family’s failure and collapse, and in the events surrounding Carol Christian’s desertion of the island and her teenage daughters, Inez and Janet. Didion chooses instead to center on one image, that of Jack waiting for Inez. In a nonlinear narrative, Didion arranges moments from Inez’s history, including how Inez finally came to Kuala Lumpur, how she first met Jack at the age of seventeen and began their enduring yet intermittent love affair, how they came to meet in Jakarta in 1969, and finally, how tragic occurrences brought them back to each other in 1975.
Didion relates certain details about Inez’s life. In 1955, a few years after Jack and Inez’s first meeting, Inez marries Harry Victor, who hopes to become an elected politician. At the time of her marriage, Inez is two months pregnant; she miscarries, however. With Harry’s career as a U.S. representative underway,...
(The entire section is 711 words.)