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Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion
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Play It As It Lays (original 1970; edition 1971)

by Joan Didion

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1,685294,239 (3.84)72
Member:crimson-tide
Title:Play It As It Lays
Authors:Joan Didion
Info:Bantam Books (1971), Paperback, 214 pages
Collections:Read but unowned, Read & released (inactive)
Rating:****
Tags:1001, abortion, fiction, las vegas, los angeles, R09, released

Work details

Play it as it Lays by Joan Didion (1970)

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    Cassandra at the Wedding by Dorothy Baker (pitjrw)
    pitjrw: California in it's prime and it's discontents
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English (28)  Swedish (1)  All languages (29)
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
Stunning, arresting, wonderful. So beautifully written. Captures a moment in time for this woman, but also for her population of women. The ennui in Didion's novel may be mistaken by some to be the same as any ennui in any modern novel -- Cheever, Yates, Franzen -- but it feels different to me. To me, it's furious. Highly recommended. ( )
1 vote sparemethecensor | Mar 19, 2016 |
This was bleak beyond even my imagining of it based on reviews and references here and there. I missed the insights that pepper her later memoirs, but I suppose that's to be expected. We're all a little more reflective as we age. Definitely an important work "of a time."
1 vote bibleblaster | Jan 23, 2016 |
This was like reading a John Cassavetes film. ( )
  viviennestrauss | Oct 22, 2015 |
I read this in the early 1980s shortly after I had graduated college. I can't give a really great review except that the book has stuck with me so I want to say something. The premise did not sound promising, but more like the soap opera themed books I avoided; second rate movie actress and model has affairs, marries, divorces, drinks, feels bored and hopeless, cracks up... However, in Didion's hands the story packed a wallop from which I am still reeling. Didion dissects the ephemeral, hapless Hollywood life in which glamor is the grail; ennui the general model. It's an ugly world, but Didion writes beautifully about it. Maria is self-absorbed, self-pitying, tragically passive. Why should anyone care about such a woman? Well, I did. This is a heartbreaking book with just a shimmer of hope. ( )
1 vote lucybrown | Sep 27, 2015 |
I read this in the early 1980s shortly after I had graduated college. I can't give a really great review except that the book has stuck with me so I want to say something. The premise did not sound promising, but more like the soap opera themed books I avoided; second rate movie actress and model has affairs, marries, divorces, drinks, feels bored and hopeless, cracks up... However, in Didion's hands the story packed a wallop from which I am still reeling. Didion dissects the ephemeral, hapless Hollywood life in which glamor is the grail; ennui the general model. It's an ugly world, but Didion writes beautifully about it. Maria is self-absorbed, self-pitying, tragically passive. Why should anyone care about such a woman? Well, I did. This is a heartbreaking book with just a shimmer of hope. ( )
1 vote lucybrown | Sep 27, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
Dedication
FOR JOHN
First words
What makes Iago evil? some people ask.
Quotations
"Did I catch you in the middle of an overdose, Maria? Or what?"
One thing in my defense, not that it matters: I know something Carter never knew, or Helene, or maybe you. I know what "nothing" means, and keep on playing.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
A ruthless dissection of American life in the late 1960s, Play It As It Lays captures the mood of an entire generation, the emptiness and ennui of contemporary society reflected in spare prose that both 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—Play It As It Lays 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.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374529949, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:33 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

A ruthless dissection of American life in the late 1960s, "Play It As It Lays" captures the mood of an entire generation. Joan Didion chose Hollywood to serve as her microcosm of contemporary society and exposed a culture characterized by emptiness and ennui.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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