Play it as it Lays a Novel

A ruthless dissection of American life in the late 1960s, Joan Didion's 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.

Author: Joan Didion


ISBN: 9780671248468

Category: Hollywood (Los Angeles, Calif.)

Page: 214

View: 200

Play It as It Lays

Spare, elegant, and terrifying, Play It as It Lays is the unforgettable story of a woman and a society come undone.

Author: Joan Didion

Publisher: Open Road Media

ISBN: 150404567X

Category: Fiction

Page: 240

View: 928

A “scathing novel” of one woman’s path of self-destruction in 1960s Hollywood—by the New York Times–bestselling author of The White Album (The Washington Post Book World). 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).

Reading Joan Didion

Joan Didion's second novel, Play It As It Lays, tells the story of Maria Wyeth and
her entourage as Maria attempts (and fails) to find meaning in her life as an aging
(and therefore largely unemployed) Hollywood actress in the late 1960s. Play It ...

Author: Lynn Marie Houston

Publisher: ABC-CLIO

ISBN: 0313364036

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 159

View: 356

This book is a compelling reference guide for book clubs on the work of Joan Didion, with summaries of her major works and discussion questions. * Discussion questions on Joan Didion's works, literary movements, and literary analysis * An exhaustive bibliography of additional writings about Didion as well as similar authors and books

Politics Desire and the Hollywood Novel

Play It as It Lays demonstrates how much the ideas of art and sexuality we
encountered during the studio era have come to seem inappropriate to the new
Hollywood that Didion's essays render so vividly. The new Hollywood is in
evidence in ...

Author: Chip Rhodes

Publisher: University of Iowa Press

ISBN: 1587297558

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 200

View: 185

The story of what happens when a serious writer goes to Hollywood has become a cliché: the writer is paid well but underappreciated, treated like a factory worker, and forced to write bad, formulaic movies. Most fail, become cynical, drink to excess, and at some point write a bitter novel that attacks the film industry in the name of high art. Like many too familiar stories, this one neither holds up to the facts nor helps us understand Hollywood novels. Instead, Chip Rhodes argues, these novels tell us a great deal about the ways that Hollywood has shaped both the American political landscape and American definitions of romance and desire. Rhodes considers how novels about the film industry changed between the studio era of the 1930s and 1940s and the era of deregulated film making that has existed since the 1960s. He asserts that Americans are now driven by cultural, rather than class, differences and that our mainstream notion of love has gone from repressed desire to “abnormal desire” to, finally, strictly business. Politics, Desire, and the Hollywood Novel pays close attention to six authors—Nathanael West, Raymond Chandler, Budd Schulberg, Joan Didion, Bruce Wagner, and Elmore Leonard—who have toiled in the film industry and written to tell about it. More specifically, Rhodes considers both screenplays and novels with an eye toward the different formulations of sexuality, art, and ultimately political action that exist in these two kinds of storytelling.

New York Magazine

[from Play It as It Lays], he's completely Warren Bogart [from A Book of Common
Prayer]. He's always the romantic ... That line "She can't win if she's not at the
table" [from Play It as It Lays] — I think that was Colonel Didion 's. At Vogue, she ...





Page: 92

View: 978

New York magazine was born in 1968 after a run as an insert of the New York Herald Tribune and quickly made a place for itself as the trusted resource for readers across the country. With award-winning writing and photography covering everything from politics and food to theater and fashion, the magazine's consistent mission has been to reflect back to its audience the energy and excitement of the city itself, while celebrating New York as both a place and an idea.

Writing Widowhood

The feeling of loss that pervades Slouching towards Bethlehem dominates Play It
as It Lays, published in 1970, when Quintana was three. One can see from the
beginning of Didion's novelistic career how her worst fear is a mother's loss of her

Author: Jeffrey Berman

Publisher: SUNY Press

ISBN: 1438458193

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 244

View: 384

Explores how memoirs of widowhood can help us understand the reality of bereavement and the critical role of writing and reading in recovery. The death of a beloved spouse after a lifetime of companionship is a life-changing experience. To help understand the reality of bereavement, Jeffrey Berman focuses on five extraordinary American writers—Joan Didion, Sandra Gilbert, Gail Godwin, Kay Redfield Jamison, and Joyce Carol Oates—each of whom has written a memoir of spousal loss. In each chapter, Berman gives an overview of the writer’s life and art before widowhood, including her early preoccupation with death, and then discusses the writer’s memoir and her life as a widow. He discovers that writing was, for all of these authors, both a solace and a lifeline, enabling them to maintain bonds with their lost loved ones while simultaneously moving on with their lives. These memoirs of widowhood, Berman maintains, reveal not only courage and resilience in the face of loss, but also the critical role of writing and reading in bereavement and recovery. “Writing Widowhood is a stunning achievement that combines biography, literary history, and theoretical and philosophical exploration into the nature of grief as well as mental illness—all seamlessly executed. Berman elegantly and lucidly conveys a range of theories and perspectives to suit both academic and general readers. Berman never compromises complexity while remaining accessible and straightforward throughout.” — Virginia L. Blum, author of Flesh Wounds: The Culture of Cosmetic Surgery “Writing Widowhood contributes to the field of autobiography/biography, and particularly to women’s writing within that generic field, by discussing five memoirs which Berman categorizes as the ‘widow memoir.’ No other critic that I know has shaped commentaries into a newly defined genre. Berman’s book, thus, makes an important contribution to the overall field.” — Linda Wagner-Martin, author of Telling Women’s Lives: The New Biography

How Successful People Win

You should seek to find out what they have that you want in order to know what to
ask for. ... lamp in the tiny living/dining room of a house I'd rented in the
Georgetown area of Washington, D.C. The book in my hand was called Play It As
It Lays.

Author: Ben Stein

Publisher: Hay House, Inc

ISBN: 9781401919658

Category: Self-Help

Page: 200

View: 749

How Successful People Win is a serious self-help book using as its central metaphor the life of the cowboy and his behavior as he leaves his bunkhouse. Based upon a lifetime of observation of the successful and how they got that way, Ben Stein suggests that you imitate the determination, inner mobility, activity, flexibility —and the refusal to indulge in self-pity —of the cowboy in order to get what you want out of life. The idea is that if you never indulge in making excuses, refuse to let other people’s hangups get in your way, and move deliberately toward clearly thought-out goals, you will get where you want to go. Just as the cowboy refuses to allow himself to get sidetracked by trivia, so can you refuse to allow life’s inevitable challenges and distractions mar your own success and happiness. The choice is yours.

A History of the African American People Proposed by Strom Thurmond as told to Percival Everett James Kincaid A Novel

That says it all. Next to my father, Martin, few can stand. Even fewer deserve to
live. Barton April 17, 2003 Dear Juniper, ... I don't suppose it matters. We have to
live with what is. Play it as it lays. Honey you been dealt a winning hand. That's ...

Author: Percival Everett

Publisher: Akashic Books

ISBN: 1617752134

Category: Fiction

Page: 300

View: 777

Praise for Percival Everett: “If Percival Everett isn’t already a household name, it’s because people are more interested in politics than truth.”—Madison Smartt Bell, author of The Washington Square Ensemble “Everett’s talent is multifaceted, sparked by a satiric brilliance that could place him alongside Richard Wright and Ralph Ellison . . .”—Publishers Weekly “I think Percival Everett is a genius. I’ve been a fan since his first novel. He continues to amaze me with each novel—as if he likes making 90-degree turns to see what’s around the corner, and then over the edge . . . He’s a brilliant writer and so damn smart I envy him.”—Terry McMillan, author of Mama A fictitious and satirical chronicle of South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond’s desire to pen a history of African-Americans—his and his aides’ belief being that he has done as much, or more, than any American to shape that history. An epistolary novel, The History follows the letters of loose cannon Congressional office workers, insane interns at a large New York publishing house and disturbed publishing executives, along with homicidal rival editors, kindly family friends, and an aspiring author named Septic. Strom Thurmond appears charming and open, mad and sure of his place in American history. Percival Everett is the author of 15 works of fiction, among them Glyph, Watershed and Frenzy. His most recent novel, Erasure, won the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and did little to earn him friends. James Kincaid is an English professor at the University of Southern California and has written seven books in literary theory and cultural studies. These books and Kincaid himself have gradually lost their moorings in the academic world, so there was nothing left for him to do but to adopt the guise of fiction writer. Writing about madness comes easy to him.

A Jury Of Her Peers

The abortion scene in Play It as It Lays, she explained, was merely “a narrative
strategy.”57 In 1972, Didion fiercely attacked the women's movement in an essay
for The New York Times Book Review that attracted a great deal of attention.

Author: Elaine Showalter

Publisher: Hachette UK

ISBN: 0748111514

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 640

View: 646

Fascinating, incisive, intelligent and never afraid of being controversial, Elaine Showalter introduces us to more than 250 writers. Here are the famous and expected names, including Harriet Beecher Stowe, Willa Cather, Dorothy Parker, Flannery O'Connor, Gwendolyn Brooks, Grace Paley, Toni Morrison, and Jodi Picoult. And also many successful and acclaimed yet little-known writers, from the early American bestselling novelist Catherine Sedgwick to the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Susan Glaspell. A JURY OF HER PEERS is an irresistible invitation to discover great authors never before encountered and to return to familiar books with a deeper appreciation. It is a monumental work that enriches our understanding of American literary history and culture.

The Year of Magical Thinking The Play

Because there was a snake on the jacket of Play It As It Lays Quintana called it "
Mommy's snake book." I recognize, too late, that I have entered marked water
with "Mommy's snake book." I was writing that book when Quintana was three.

Author: Joan Didion

Publisher: Vintage

ISBN: 9780307498915

Category: Drama

Page: 80

View: 918

“this happened on December 30, 2003. That may seem a while ago but it won’t when it happens to you . . .” In this dramatic adaptation of her award-winning, bestselling memoir (which Michiko Kakutani in The New York Times called “an indelible portrait of loss and grief . . . a haunting portrait of a four-decade-long marriage), Joan Didion transforms the story of the sudden and unexpected loss of her husband and their only daughter into a stunning and powerful one-woman play. The first theatrical production of The Year of Magical Thinking opened at the Booth Theatre on March 29, 2007, starring Vanessa Redgrave and directed by David Hare. From the Trade Paperback edition.

Encounters With American Culture

Briley suggests that Evans is not a traitor because passionate dissent justifies
active treason. ... Joan Didion's Play It as It Lays is a short, consummately skillful
novel, one of the very best of the year and as grim a fable for our time as anyone

Author: Peter S. Prescott

Publisher: Transaction Publishers

ISBN: 9781412822534

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 331

View: 159

This collection of essays discusses some of the important books, authors, and literary trends of a volatile era in American and world literature whose cultural repercussions are still being felt. Peter S. Prescott was one of the most penetrating, knowledgeable, and sensitive critics to write for a general audience in the tradition of Edmund Wilson. Readers will discover not only Prescott's acute and subtle comments on the enduring and/or representative books of the time, but also his humor and style, his way with an anecdote or aphorism, his talent for parody, and his ability to laugh at himself, as well as at the authors he sometimes skewers. Prescott's writing has an immediacy and vivacity that suggests what it was like to read new books during his time. Here is one critic's view--ironic and complex--of good books by famous writers like Norman Mailer, Jorge Luis Borges, Joyce Carol Oates, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and Vladimir Nabokov, as well as of good books by little-known writers and others who would later achieve reknown. Here, too, is some astringent criticism of distinguished and popular authors who have fallen into self-indulgence. Prescott writes about the New Journalism in its early days and about fragmentary autobiography as a literary form--genres whose importance he was among the first to recognize. His essays also touch on theater, film, food, and politics. The criticism in this volume are examples of the literary essay in its truest sense--an attempt to explore, in however brief space allowed, what the author sees around him, and connections between books and other aspects of the way people live. Always personal and urbane, these essays are often hilarious, generally moving, and exemplify the essay as an art form. Peter S. Prescott was book review editor for Newsweek. His books include A Darkening Green: Notes from the Silent Generation, and The Child Savers: Juvenile Justice Observed. Anne L. Prescott is Helen Goodhart Altschul Professor of English at Barnard College.

Masterplots II Lov Pla

Always when I play back my father ' s voice , ” Maria says , “ it is with a
professional rasp , it goes as it lays , don ' t do it the hard way . My father advised
me that life itself was a crap game : it was one of two lessons I learned as a child .

Author: Steven G. Kellman

Publisher: Salem PressInc

ISBN: 9780893568757

Category: Fiction

Page: 2944

View: 513

Includes more than 360 interpretative essays on works of twentieth-century fiction published in the United States and Latin America.

Flip Sides

Joan Didion ' s Play It As It Lays : Female or Feminist Perspective ? Ulrike E .
Koestler This paper deals with the question whether Joan Didion ' s novel Play It
As It Lays is written from a female or feminist perspective . The study of secondary

Author: Klaus H. Schmidt

Publisher: Peter Lang Pub Incorporated


Category: Fiction

Page: 140

View: 680

Flip Sides is a collection of critical essays by young scholars of American Studies. The contributors focus on writers, themes, and motifs which to date have been neglected in pertinent studies on American litearature. The collection covers a wide spectrum of critical methods, ranging from biographical analysis, gynocriticism and feminism to poststructuralism. The first essays examine texts by nineteeth-century writers, Balduin Möllhausen and Elizabeth Stoddard. The middle section is dedicated to twentieth-century African American literature, including essays on Toni Morrison, the concepts of liberation and love in black women's literature, and John Wideman. The last two essays, on Joan Didion and Rolando Hinojosa, continue the critical disussion of literary postmodernism started in the essay on Wideman.


sation between the two principal screenplay of Play It As It Lays Some of the lines
above are male characters ) of a gap in our from her own novel , and received as
om Frank Perry's Play It As It information , a lacuna in the action faithful an ...




Category: Jews


View: 639

Joan Didion

Joan Didion ' s Play It As It Lays and the Vacuity of the " Here and Now " C . Barry
Chabot “ THEY SEEMED AFFLICTED with memory , ” thinks Lily Knight
McClellan of herself , her husband , and her most recent lover near the end of
Joan ...

Author: Joan Didion



Category: Women and literature

Page: 190

View: 927

Collection of essays on the work of the American writer, Joan Didion (born in 1944). Also includes a number of interviews with her.

American Literature s Aesthetic Dimensions

If they turned it to the account of a very different sound, it's worth noting that, like
the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson (and what ... say, Joan Didion's dispassionate odes
to dispassion and disaffection, Play It as It Lays, Slouching Towards Bethlehem, ...

Author: Cindy Weinstein

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 0231520778

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 432

View: 606

Rethinking the category of aesthetics in light of recent developments in literary theory and social criticism, the contributors to this volume showcase the interpretive possibilities available to those who bring politics, culture, ideology, and conceptions of identity into their critiques. Essays combine close readings of individual works and authors with more theoretical discussions of aesthetic theory and its relation to American literature. In their introduction, Weinstein and Looby argue that aesthetics never left American literary critique. Instead, the essay casts the current "return to aesthetics" as the natural consequence of shortcomings in deconstruction and new historicism, which led to a reconfiguration of aesthetics. Subsequent essays demonstrate the value and versatility of aesthetic considerations in literature, from eighteenth-century poetry to twentieth-century popular music. Organized into four groups—politics, form, gender, and theory—contributors revisit the canonical works of Henry James, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Stephen Crane, introduce the overlooked texts of Constance Fenimore Woolson and Earl Lind, and unpack the complexities of the music of The Carpenters. Deeply rooted in an American context, these essays explore literature's aesthetic dimensions in connection to American liberty and the formation of political selfhood. Contributors include Edward Cahill, Ivy G. Wilson, June Ellison, Dorri Beam, Christopher Castiglia, Christopher Looby, Wendy Steiner, Cindy Weinstein, Trish Loughran, Jonathan Freedman, Elisa New, Dorothy Hale, Mary Esteve, Eric Lott, Sianne Ngai

The Lost Frontier

her to be evasive while conforming to the role of the western writer who 'tells it as
it is'.4 Proulx's most high-profile ... is at once deprecatory and self-consciously
western: 'For those who call this little piece a Sour Grapes Rant, play it as it lays.

Author: Mark Asquith

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA

ISBN: 1623563356

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 240

View: 901

The success of The Shipping News and the film of Brokeback Mountain brought Proulx international recognition, but their success merely confirms what literary critics have known for some time: Proulx is one of the most provocative and stylistically innovative writers in America today. She is at her best in the short story format, and the best of these are to be found in her Wyoming trilogy, in which she turns her eye on America's West-both past and present. Yet despite the vast amount of print expended reviewing her books, there has been nothing published on the Wyoming Stories. There is appetite for such a work; the plethora of critical work on McCarthy's Border Trilogy indicates that the reinvention of the West is a subject for serious academic study. Annie Proulx's Wyoming Stories fills this critical void by offering a detailed examination of the key stories in the trilogy: Close Range (1999) , Bad Dirt (2004), Fine Just the Way it Is (2008). The chapters are arranged according to western archetypes-the Pioneer, Rancher, Cowboy, Indian, and, arguably, the most important character of them all in Proulx's fiction: Landscape. Annie Proulx's Wyoming Stories offers students a clear sense of the novelist's early life and work, stylistic influences and the characteristics of her fiction and an understanding of where the Wyoming Stories, and Annie Proulx's work as a whole, fits into traditional and contemporary writing about the American West.

A Literary Cavalcade II

(August, 1962) JOAN DIDION Play It As It Lays (1970) This novel belongs to
today: in style, in theme, in social setting. ... And its short chapters show that
Didion understands the effectiveness of making a point or presenting a brief
scene, and ...

Author: Robert A. Parker


ISBN: 1304595684

Category: Fiction

Page: 396

View: 673

For six decades, writer and editor Robert A. Parker has followed up each book he reads, mainly novels, with an evaluation of that book. His comments are informed by an independent critical view that balances a moral and literary sensibility. In this second of six volumes, the authors covered range from Henri Daniel-Rops to Jose Maria Gironalla. They include Don DeLillo, Peter Dexter, E. L. Doctorow, Umberto Eco, Shusaku Endo, Louise Erdrich, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Fowles, E. M. Forster, Carlos Fuentes, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, as well as a few mystery authors and historians. The commentaries are listed alphabetically by author, and the books by the date of publication for each author. The writers here represent a broad range of writing styles, cultural influences, and moral philosophies. And all are rated on their literary achievement, the effectiveness of plot, character, and setting, plus their recognition of the moral, ethical, and spiritual values of mankind.

The Centennial Review

But it is in Didion's middle novel , Play It As It Lays ( 1970 ) , that the issues raised
in “ The White Album ” are most fully and deeply explored . The consciousness of
Maria Wyeth , protagonist of Play It As It Lays , closely resembles Didion's own ...




Category: Literature


View: 231

CR Centennial Review

But it is in Didion's middle novel , Play It As It Lays ( 1970 ) , 5 that the issues
raised in " The White Album ” are most fully and deeply explored . The
consciousness of Maria Wyeth , protagonist of Play It As It Lays , closely
resembles Didion's ...






View: 537