Play It as It Lays

Play It as It Lays

A Novel

Book - 2005
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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 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.
Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005
ISBN: 9780374529949
0374529949
Characteristics: xvii, 213 pages ; 21 cm
Call Number: DIDION, J

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Nicr May 14, 2018

Actress and substance abuser Maria Wyeth tries to cope with a flagging career, a broken marriage, a sick daughter and an abortion: "I know what 'nothing' means, and kept on playing." It's as much the style as the subject matter that's so notable: intense and aphoristic, in short staccat... Read More »


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velveetahead
Jul 05, 2018

Maria seems to be suffering from an existential crisis for most of her life and also seems to be enduring untreated depression that was triggered when her mother died. She never seemed to really get over that, but it was the beginning of many tragedies in her life. Set in the late 1960s, she is an actress married to a successful Hollywood producer. They have a young daughter that is in a mental institution and they do not seem happy. No one has any sympathy for Maria. She doesn't have any sympathy for herself either. She accepts that life is crap and there is nothing you can do to change it. The only time she ever has any control is when she gets on the freeway and drives out into the desert.

I loved this book, but I am not sure why. The writing was sparse, but Didion said so much with so little. I could completely see how this book would drive many people insane and many people probably want nothing to do with Maria, but I found her so interesting. I like reading about real women with real problems, so maybe that is why I liked it. There is nothing pretty about this story. It is dark and depressing, but I was enchanted.

Nicr May 14, 2018

Actress and substance abuser Maria Wyeth tries to cope with a flagging career, a broken marriage, a sick daughter and an abortion: "I know what 'nothing' means, and kept on playing." It's as much the style as the subject matter that's so notable: intense and aphoristic, in short staccato chapters. A quick, bruising read.

l
loudem
Aug 29, 2010

My third Didion book. Why am I so drawn to this author? I really don't know. This book is of people so "blasé", so out of touch with reality, so in their own little world, that you keep reading and keep reading till the last word, the last phrase in the hope that, that maybe... No, this is hopeless. Why, why not.

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