Play It as It Lays (1970)

"Play It as It Lays" is a novel by Joan Didion that was first published in 1970. It is a bleak and darkly comic portrayal of life in Hollywood in the late 1960s, told through the perspective of Maria Wyeth, a former actress who is now adrift and struggling to find meaning in her life.

The novel follows Maria as she navigates a series of failed relationships, including her marriage to a successful film producer and her affair with a younger man. Along the way, she grapples with issues of identity, disillusionment, and the emptiness of the Hollywood lifestyle.

Throughout the novel, Didion uses a non-linear narrative structure and explores themes of isolation, nihilism, and the search for meaning in a world that often seems absurd and meaningless. The writing is spare and precise, and Didion uses a range of techniques, including stream-of-consciousness and collage-like structures, to convey the fragmented and disorienting nature of Maria's experience.

Overall, "Play It as It Lays" is a powerful and provocative novel that offers a poignant and unflinching portrayal of the underbelly of the Hollywood dream. It is a testament to Didion's skill as a writer and her ability to capture the complex and often disturbing psychological states of her characters.

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