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

by Joan Didion

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1,412None5,406 (3.84)54
Member:tom_cook
Title:Play It As It Lays
Authors:Joan Didion
Info:Farrar Straus & Giroux (1970), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 214 pages
Collections:Your library, eBooks
Rating:**1/2
Tags:Time Top 100, Fiction, Novel

Work details

Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion (1970)

1001 (10) 1960s (11) 1970s (14) 2006 (6) 20th century (18) abortion (15) America (6) American (30) American fiction (9) American literature (31) California (36) Didion (8) essays (8) fiction (245) film (6) Hollywood (25) Joan Didion (8) Las Vegas (9) literary fiction (6) literature (18) Los Angeles (22) novel (47) own (7) read (16) Time 100 (10) to-read (38) unread (10) USA (7) women (14) women writers (6)
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» See also 54 mentions

English (22)  Swedish (1)  All languages (23)
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
concise and precise story about loneliness in hollywood. A serious novel, it is older kin to "The Loneliness of Prime Numbers," another close look at severely emotionally-disturbed individuals. ( )
  wrk1 | Jan 15, 2014 |
On the basis of this, I prefer Didion's non-fiction. This was closest in tone to the essay "Slouching Toward Bethlehem", which was probably my least favourite in that collection.

This book is very much of its time, late sixties, and it was hard for me to relate to the despair of characters whose 'problems' are largely self-imposed. I thought first section from Maria's view point and the insights into that throughout were some of the strongest parts.

I liked the style: it's fast-paced (some chapters aren't even a full page), spare, and conveys the despair and ennui of the characters incredibly well. It was just that I didn't always feel it was earned.

Some of the language is of its time, I found the references to faggots jarring. My 70s library copy also uses retarded not once but twice on the dust jacket, but this wasn't in the book itself. ( )
  daisyq | Oct 27, 2013 |
Library of My Mind ( )
  decidophobic | Aug 10, 2013 |
This is like the Yellow Wallpaper meets Hills Like White Elephants meets Day of the Locust.
  ljhliesl | Jun 1, 2013 |
Brutal! (In a 4-star way.) Didion is sharp and pointy and I think she is a curmudgeon - which makes me like her even more. The ennui she conveys through Maria is impeccable. A couple of parts were left far too ambiguous (what is the matter with Kate?) which is why it isn't a 5-star rating. The dialogue is brilliant. This book hurts. ( )
  DawsonOakes | Apr 6, 2013 |
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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.)
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:18:05 -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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