Play It as It Lays: A Novel

Open Road Media
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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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Reviews

4.0
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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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Joan Didion
Joan Didion
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.
Joan Didion
An extraordinary report on the aftermath of the 1960s in America by the New York Times–bestselling author of South and West and Slouching Towards Bethlehem.

In this landmark essay collection, Joan Didion brilliantly interweaves her own “bad dreams” with those of a nation confronting the dark underside of 1960s counterculture.
 
From a jailhouse visit to Black Panther Party cofounder Huey Newton to witnessing First Lady of California Nancy Reagan pretend to pick flowers for the benefit of news cameras, Didion captures the paranoia and absurdity of the era with her signature blend of irony and insight. She takes readers to the “giddily splendid” Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the cool mountains of Bogotá, and the Jordanian Desert, where Bishop James Pike went to walk in Jesus’s footsteps—and died not far from his rented Ford Cortina. She anatomizes the culture of shopping malls—“toy garden cities in which no one lives but everyone consumes”—and exposes the contradictions and compromises of the women’s movement. In the iconic title essay, she documents her uneasy state of mind during the years leading up to and following the Manson murders—a terrifying crime that, in her memory, surprised no one.
 
Written in “a voice like no other in contemporary journalism,” The White Album is a masterpiece of literary reportage and a fearless work of autobiography by the National Book Award–winning author of The Year of Magical Thinking (The New York Times Book Review). Its power to electrify and inform remains undiminished nearly forty years after it was first published.

 
Joan Didion
Joan Didion
De la autora de El año del pensamiento mágico, una novela perturbadora sobre la realidad de ser mujer. Un clásico de la literatura norteamericana.

A sus treinta años, Maria Wyeth se encuentra emocionalmente a la deriva y ajena a todo lo que la rodea. Su carrera de actriz se ha limitado a papeles en películas de tercera y siempre ha vivido a la sombra de su marido, un reconocido director de Hollywood que nunca le ha permitido tomar sus propias decisiones con respecto a su hija de cuatro años, recluida en un centro médico para niños con necesidades especiales, ni con respecto a su nuevo embarazo.

Con una mirada implacable y una voz inconfundible, Didion disecciona sin contemplaciones la sociedad estadounidense de finales de los años sesenta, explorando por un lado la realidad de ser mujer en una sociedad en la que siempre han prevalecido las necesidades masculinas y, por otro, capturando el estado de ánimo de toda una generación que vive bajo el engaño de las apariencias, la amoralidad, las consecuencias del liberalismo extremo y el hastío generalizado del individuo contemporáneo.

Incluida por la revista Time en su lista de las mejores cien novelas en lengua inglesa publicadas entre 1923 y 2005, Según venga el juego está considerada, después de más de cuatro décadas desde su publicación, un clásico moderno de las letras norteamericanas y una de las mejores novelas de Joan Didion.

Críticas:
«No ha habido otro escritor norteamericano con el nivel de Joan Didion desde Nathanael West. [...] Un libro espectacular.»
John Leonard, The New York Times

«Sencillo, comedido, inteligente, bien estructurado, ocurrente, irresistiblemente implacable, punzante y libre de sensacionalismos. Según venga el juego es un libro sobresaliente y de una excepcional calidad literaria.»
Library Journal

«Una novela mordaz que destila veneno en gotas minúsculas.»
J.R. Frakes, Book World

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