Play It as It Lays
  • Play It as It Lays
  • Play It as It Lays

Play It as It Lays

4.6 16
by Joan Didion
     
 

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A ruthless dissection of American life in the late 1960s, Play It as It Lays captures the mood of an entire generation, the ennui of contemporary society reflected in spare prose that blisters and haunts the reader. Set in a place beyond good and evil-literally in Hollywood, Las Vegas, and the barren wastes of the Mojave Desert, but figuratively in the landscape of

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Overview

A ruthless dissection of American life in the late 1960s, Play It as It Lays captures the mood of an entire generation, the ennui of contemporary society reflected in spare prose that blisters and haunts the reader. Set in a place beyond good and evil-literally in Hollywood, Las Vegas, and the barren wastes of the Mojave Desert, but figuratively in the landscape of an arid soul-it remains more than three decades after its original publication a profoundly disturbing novel, riveting in its exploration of a woman and a society in crisis and stunning in the still-startling intensity of its prose.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“There hasn't been another American writer of Joan Didion's quality since Nathanel West . . . A terrifying book.” —John Leonard, The New York Times

“Simple, restrained, intelligent, well-structured, witty, irresistibly relentless, forthright in diction, and untainted by the sensational, Play It As It Lays is a book of outstanding literary quality.” —Library Journal

“[A] scathing novel, distilling venom in tiny drops, revealing devastation in a sneer and fear in a handful of atomic dust.” —J. R. Frakes, Book World

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780374529949
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
11/15/2005
Series:
FSG Classics Series
Edition description:
Second Edition, Revised Edition
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
84,459
Product dimensions:
5.65(w) x 8.29(h) x 0.69(d)

Meet the Author

Joan Didion is the author of many works of fiction and nonfiction, as well as several screenplays written with her late husband, John Gregory Dunne. She lives in New York City.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
New York, New York
Date of Birth:
December 5, 1934
Place of Birth:
Sacramento, California
Education:
B.A., University of California at Berkeley, 1956

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Play It As It Lays 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Cenzo64 More than 1 year ago
The startling frankness of the narrative will keep you turning pages. A brutal story of stark reality told masterfully. Follow Maria's self destructive path "into the hard white empty core of the world."
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vagabondher More than 1 year ago
There isn't one character in this novel, including the protagonist Maria Wyeth, that is perfect or altruistic or flawless in any way and Didion grabs onto that aspect and soaks every last drop of it into the pages. Who says the story's hero has to be perfect, make all the right choices, say all the right things, want to do right by the world and their loved ones. People like that don't exist and Joan Didion knows that, and refuses to write people like that. She writes as people act - flawed, selfish, absorbed in their own problems and issues and dramas. This is life, at its saddest and scariest.

If you start this book, you have to finish it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book! VERY SHORT AND EASY READ! but it really changed my point of view on things as didion has a strange way of doing in all of her novels but I really enjoyed this one about a corrupt actress of the 60s..what life was like behind the golden curtain. BRILLIANT!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just finished this book and I'm trying to organize my thoughts about it. First off, it's an easy read...a short novel with brief, bite-sized chapters. The novel centers on a female character (a model, turned actress) who appears to be going through life as if she's numb to just about everything. The synopsis on the back of the book states that the story is about the exploration of a woman and a society in crisis. I wouldn't go so far as to agree with that statement, but I would agree that the main character and her social circle are living on the edge.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you're looking for an easy, non-symbolic, basic storyline...look elsewhere. This book has NUMEROUS undertones of symbolism that is unmatched. Especially look for the recurring images of water (both explicit and implied). She creates a masterful piece and uses perfect wording to draw up her points. Very highly recommended!
Guest More than 1 year ago
joan didion is one of the most underrated, unequivocally genius writers that america has ever spawned. her writing is spare, austere, and perfectly morose and funny and disturbing all at once. you can see a lot of her influence today in many of our on-the-fringe writers, especially bret easton ellis. but her writing contains a timelessness that her spawn do not have. i've read this book repeatedly and it never fails to amaze me. wow.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is Didion at her best. Her portrayal of Maria, the woman destroyed by her celebrity life, is profoundly disturbing, even today. Maria's mentality is summed up in her first monologue: 'I've been working very hard at not thinking about how everything goes. I watch the hummingbird, throw the I Ching, but never read the coins, keep my mind in the now.'