Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion

Image of Play It As It Lays

Didion's mordant lucidity is like L.A. sunlight, a thing so bright sometimes it hurts. She's a descendant of the old California, the great- great-granddaughter of pioneers. But she was also schooled at Berkeley and in the literary circles of Paris and New York, so she's fully versed in the predicaments of a shaky modernity that she does not care for in the least. To drive home her belief that the world, or at least the part around L.A., is coming to a bad end, she gives us Maria Wyeth, a model turned actress turned hollowed-out woman who speaks to us from the mental institution where she has fetched up after a long slide into despair. Passing through a pointless career, a toxic marriage, an abortion, finally holding the hand of a close friend while he commits suicide; when she tells you, "I know what 'nothing' means," you believe her

- Time

The 1494th greatest fiction book of all time

This book is on the following lists:

  1. - TIME Magazine All Time 100 Novels (TIME Magazine)
  2. - The 100 Greatest American Novels, 1893 – 1993 (Jeff O'Neal at

Buy This Book

  • Play It As It Lays
    Image of Play It As It Lays
    Sales Rank
    Lowest New Price
    Lowest Used Price
    Year Published
Kindle Edition