Didion, Joan Play it as it Lays

ISBN 13: 9780007414987

Play it as it Lays

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9780007414987: Play it as it Lays

A ruthless and unflinching examination of American life in the late 1960s, from the author of The Year of Magical Thinking.

Somewhere out beyond Hollywood, hollowed-out actress Maria Wyeth’s life plays out in a numbing routine of perpetual freeway driving. Anaesthetized to pain and pleasure, she is seemingly unaffected by her fraught personal history. In her early thirties, divorced from her husband, dislocated from friends, and somehow detached from her past and future, Wyeth epitomises a generation made ill by too much freedom.

Set beyond good and evil – literally in Los Angeles and the barren wastescapes of the Mojave desert, and figuratively in the landscapes of a broken spirit – Play It As It Lays is an immaculately wrought vision of Californian culture on the cusp of the 1970s. Three decades after its original publication, the novel remains an intense dissection of a very particular time and place.

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Review:

‘She writes with a razor.’ New York Times

‘A pioneer of New Journalism, she brilliantly chronicled America’s cultural and political life.’ Guardian

‘Didion's mordant lucidity is like L.A. sunlight, a thing so bright sometimes it hurts.’ Time

PRAISE FOR THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING
'Her poetic writing has a spell-like charm that is profoundly affecting.' Observer

'this brave book maps a year…when the world flipped over to expose the underside of cool where things go bad.’ The Times

'The subject may be bleak, but her tender treatment makes it a book that we should all read.' Daily Mail

From the Back Cover:

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.

Maria Wyeth is an emotional drifter who has become almost anesthetized against pain and pleasure. She finds herself, in her early thirties, radically divorced from husband, lover, friends, her own past and her own future. Actress, daughter, wife, mother, woman: she has played each role to the sound of one hand clapping.

'Play It As It Lays' is set in a place beyond good and evil, literally in Los Angeles and Las Vegas and the barren wastes of the Mojave, but figuratively in the landscape of an arid soul. Two decades after its original publication, it remains a profoundly disturbing novel.

‘’There hasn’t been another American writer of Joan Didion’s quality since Nathanael West…A terrifying book.’’
JOHN LEONARD, 'New York Times'

‘‘Didion is a better writer than Cheever.’’
ANGELA CARTER, 'Guardian'

‘‘A writer of haunting power and global vision who sees a world on the edge of nervous breakdown and is not afraid to deliver the news.’’
SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

‘‘Joan Didion’s acupuncture prose hits cells we didn’t know we had and reinvigorates our entire sensibility. She circles her characters and key events as she might a dangerous snake.’’
JILL NEVILLE, 'Sunday Times'

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