Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion

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 594th 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
  3. - 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (The Book)

Buy This Book

Name Binding Sales Rank Lowest New Lowest Used Published
Play It As It Lays (FSG Classics) Paperback 10670 $10.50 $7.35 2005
Play It As It Lays Hardcover 372961 $59.95 $8.71
Play It As It Lays Paperback 751639 $10.59 $3.93
Play It As It Lays Mass Market Paperback 1345843 $49.82 $10.01
Play It As It Lays: A Novel Paperback 385518 $1.95 $0.33 1990
PLAY IT AS IT LAYS Paperback 6884754 $22.97 $1.44 1979
Play It As It Lays Kindle Edition 59902 2015
Play It As It Lays Paperback 7851329 $235.77 $2.00 1978
Play it as it Lays Mass Market Paperback 11805229 $3.00
Play It As It Lays Paperback 5142783 $40.74 $0.23 1981
Play It as It Lays: A Novel Kindle Edition 72186 2017
Play It as It Lays, a Novel Paperback 2362819 $12.50
Play It As It Lays (A Bantam Book) Mass Market Paperback 7353888 $62.50 $8.95
Play it as it lays, a novel (A Touchstone book) Paperback 2744569 $55.02 $0.63
Joan Didion: The 1960s & 70s (LOA #325): Run River / Slouching Towards Bethlehem / Play It As It Lays / A Book of Common Prayer / The White Album (Library of America) Hardcover 5904 $25.67 $26.08 2019
Play it as it Lays Mass Market Paperback 7349010 $99.99 $2.90