Play It as It Lays: A Novel

Open Road Media
21
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A harrowing tale of Hollywood, Las Vegas, and a young woman in pursuit of oblivion by the New York Times–bestselling author of The White Album.

Spare, elegant, and terrifying, Play It as It Lays is the unforgettable story of a woman and a society come undone.
 
Raised in the ghost town of Silver Wells, Nevada, Maria Wyeth is an ex-model and the star of two films directed by her estranged husband, Carter Lang. But in the spiritual desert of 1960s Los Angeles, Maria has lost the plot of her own life. Her daughter, Kate, was born with an “aberrant chemical in her brain.” Her long-troubled marriage has slipped beyond repair, and her disastrous love affairs and strained friendships provide little comfort. Her only escape is to get in her car and drive the freeway—in the fast lane with the radio turned up high—until it runs out “somewhere no place at all where the flawless burning concrete just stopped.” But every ride to nowhere, every sleepless night numbed by pills and booze and sex, makes it harder for Maria to find the meaning in another day.
 
Told with profound economy of style and a “vision as bleak and precise as Eliot’s in ‘The Wasteland’,” Play It as It Lays ruthlessly dissects the dark heart of the American dream (The New York Times). It is a searing masterpiece “from one of the very few writers of our time who approaches her terrible subject with absolute seriousness, with fear and humility and awe” (Joyce Carol Oates, The New York Times Book Review).

 
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About the author

Joan Didion is the author of five novels, ten works of nonfiction, and a play. Her books include Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Play It as It Lays, The White Album, The Year of Magical Thinking, and, most recently, South and West: From a Notebook. Born in Sacramento, California, she lives in New York City.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Open Road Media
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Published on
May 9, 2017
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Pages
240
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ISBN
9781504045674
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Coming of Age
Fiction / Contemporary Women
Fiction / Family Life
Fiction / Literary
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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With the publication of her first novel, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers, all of twenty-three, became a literary sensation. With its profound sense of moral isolation and its compassionate glimpses into its characters' inner lives, the novel is considered McCullers' finest work, an enduring masterpiece first published by Houghton Mifflin in 1940. At its center is the deaf-mute John Singer, who becomes the confidant for various types of misfits in a Georgia mill town during the 1930s. Each one yearns for escape from small town life. When Singer's mute companion goes insane, Singer moves into the Kelly house, where Mick Kelly, the book's heroine (and loosely based on McCullers), finds solace in her music. Wonderfully attuned to the spiritual isolation that underlies the human condition, and with a deft sense for racial tensions in the South, McCullers spins a haunting, unforgettable story that gives voice to the rejected, the forgotten, and the mistreated—and, through Mick Kelly, gives voice to the quiet, intensely personal search for beauty.

Richard Wright praised Carson McCullers for her ability "to rise above the pressures of her environment and embrace white and black humanity in one sweep of apprehension and tenderness." She writes "with a sweep and certainty that are overwhelming," said the New York Times. McCullers became an overnight literary sensation, but her novel has endured, just as timely and powerful today as when it was first published. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter is Carson McCullers at her most compassionate, endearing best.
Unas memorias conmovedoras sobre la enfermedad y la muerte a través de la experiencia personal de la periodista y escritora Joan Didion.

Este libro memorable ha cautivado a millones de lectores en todo el mundo. En él, la escritora Joan Didion, una de las autoras norteamericanas más reputadas de finales del siglo XX, narra con una fascinante distancia emocional la muerte repentina de su marido, el también escritor John Gregory Dunne. Este libro tan breve como intenso es, por consiguiente, una reflexión sobre el duelo y la crónica de una supervivencia.

El año del pensamiento mágico obtuvo el National Book Award en 2005.

Reseñas:
«Llena de detalles y de una deslumbrante honestidad [...], un retrato indeleble de la pérdida y el luto.»
Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

«Un acto consumado de valentía literaria, una escritora reconocida por su claridad que nos permite entrar en su mente mientras esta se nubla por el luto.»
Lev Grossman, Time

«Un libro que, repitiendo el tópico, se lee "como una novela" y cuya tensión sale de las entrañas de un ser herido pero dotado con una excepcional capacidad analítica y expresiva.»
El Cultural

«En una cultura donde la elaboración de los sentimientos [...] ha sido rescindida por una prohibición directa a través de la vergüenza o por el "deber ético del goce" [...], el libro de Didion duplica el valor del testimonio y de la invitación que lanza a un mundo de bobos emocionales técnicamente competentes.»
El Mundo

«El libro es un intento de trascender el estupor y sinsentido en que nos deja sumidos el dolor cuando experimentamos la muerte de alguien muy cercano.»
Eduardo Lago, Babelia, El País

In this moving and unexpected book, Joan Didion reassesses parts of her life, her work, her history, and ours. Where I Was From, in Didion’s words, “represents an exploration into my own confusions about the place and the way in which I grew up, confusions as much about America as about California, misapprehensions and misunderstandings so much a part of who I became that I can still to this day confront them only obliquely.” The book is a haunting narrative of how her own family moved west with the frontier from the birth of her great-great-great-great-great-grandmother in Virginia in 1766 to the death of her mother on the edge of the Pacific in 2001; of how the wagon-train stories of hardship and abandonment and endurance created a culture in which survival would seem the sole virtue.

In Where I Was From, Didion turns what John Leonard has called “her sonar ear, her radar eye” onto her own work, as well as that of such California writers as Frank Norris and Jack London and Henry George, to examine how the folly and recklessness in the very grain of the California settlement led to the California we know today–a state mortgaged first to the railroad, then to the aerospace industry, and overwhelmingly to the federal government, a dependent colony of those political and corporate owners who fly in for the annual encampment of the
Bohemian Club. Here is the one writer we always want to read on California showing us the startling contradictions in its–and in America’s–core values.

Joan Didion’s unerring sense of America and its spirit, her acute interpretation of its institutions and literature, and her incisive questioning of the stories it tells itself make this fiercely intelligent book a provocative and important tour de force from one of our greatest writers.





From the Hardcover edition.
This enhanced eBook edition of Blue Nights includes three short films directed by Griffin Dunne and starring Joan Didion. Each film blends Didion's incisive prose with images and mementos from her daughter's life.

From one of our most powerful writers, Blue Nights is a work of stunning frankness about losing a daughter. Richly textured with bits of her own childhood and married life with her husband, John Gregory Dunne, and daughter, Quintana Roo, this new book by Joan Didion examines her thoughts, fears, and doubts regarding having children, illness, and growing old. Blue Nights opens on July 26, 2010, as Didion thinks back to Quintana’s wedding in New York seven years before. Today would be her wedding anniversary. This fact triggers vivid snapshots of Quintana’s childhood—in Malibu, in Brentwood, at school in Holmby Hills. Reflecting on her daughter but also on her role as a parent, Didion asks the candid questions any parent might about how she feels she failed either because cues were not taken or perhaps displaced. “How could I have missed what was clearly there to be seen?” Finally, perhaps we all remain unknown to each other. Seamlessly woven in are incidents Didion sees as underscoring her own age, something she finds hard to acknowledge, much less accept.

Blue Nights—the long, light evening hours that signal the summer solstice, “the opposite of the dying of the brightness, but also its warning”—like The Year of Magical Thinking before it, is an iconic book of incisive and electric honesty, haunting and profoundly moving.
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