Play It as It Lays

Play It as It Lays

A Novel

eBook - 2017
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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).
Publisher: [Place of publication not identified] :, Open Road Media,, [2017]
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9781504045674
Characteristics: 1 online resource (240 pages)

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hotspur57
Feb 06, 2019

Hills Like White Elephants, 1968. It's probably more like a 3 or a 3 1/2 star book, but when it's good, it's really good. It's never bad, but there is a hip disconnectedness at times that is either artistic messiness or 1970s prescience. I'm leaning strongly toward the latter.

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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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