Play It As It Lays: A Novel

Play It As It Lays: A Novel

Paperback(Second Edition, Revised)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780374529949
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 11/15/2005
Series: FSG Classics
Edition description: Second Edition, Revised
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 54,616
Product dimensions: 5.53(w) x 8.19(h) x 0.66(d)

About 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. Her books include The White Album, Play It As It Lays, and Slouching Towards Bethlehem. She lives in New York City.


New York, New York

Date of Birth:

December 5, 1934

Place of Birth:

Sacramento, California


B.A., University of California at Berkeley, 1956

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Play It As It Lays 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
markfinl on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Maria Wyeth is a minor actress whose life is disintegrating in Hollywood, Las Vegas and the desert between the two cities. Play It As It Lays is a bleak elliptical novel. The empty spaces in the novel tell more of the story than the narration.
miriamparker on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This might be another perfect book. I read it long ago and then re-read it recently and was suprised at how much I remembered. How vivid those scenes of driving around in California aimless and miserable were. Joan Didion is GOOD at misery.
bespectacledbug on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The soothing tempo of Didion¿s beautifully crafted prose effortlessly locates the depressive glamour of 1960¿s Hollywood for one young woman. Available through nuances of the quotidian, the life of a moderately successful actress and her famous director husband manages to brilliantly reflect a social status within modern America that looks quite different on the other side of the silver screen. A certain unease permeates the overall emotional current within much of this great american author¿s fiction and this works to present the delicate balance of human relationships on an individual and societal level as they are tested by the politics of sex, wealth and success. (Film to match the mood: Jean-Luc Godard¿s Contempt 1963).
ntempest on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Didion's spare language always makes me think of empty highways through the middle of the desert. This book is a hard read emotionally because the protagonist is so dead inside herself. I first read this years ago, then reread recently after moving to the Los Angeles area, and I find it much more affecting now that I have a sense of this place, even though Didion's work addresses a different time as well. An intriguing depiction of an era and a region.
391 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This was the first book of Didion's I've ever read, and I am so excited to pick up her other books. The underlying currents of depression and disconnect are so heartbreaking, and the overall story is a
oogumboogum on LibraryThing 8 months ago
A stunning overview of America's lost generation .
ToniApicelli on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Although I read this many years ago, I remember well that it struck me there was no one else who described the empty space in a soul as well as Joan Didion. We understand a character more through what is not said than what is.
daizylee on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Sadly, this feels a little dated, the aging, rather off-her-rocker former film star whose life begins to spiral out of control. And the style also doesn't feel as fresh as it once did.
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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.'