Sunday, November 25, 2007

85. "Play It as It Lays" - Joan Didion


Maria Wyeth grew up halfway between California and Las Vegas, this no-man's land where she remains, at least mentally.

Written in mostly short bursts (1-4 page chapters), the reader understands the heartbreak of Wyeth, as well as the definitions of her generation - drugs, alcohol, self-indulgence in thinking. Though she could be successful as an actress, she is wasting away under a heavy load of thoughts - a mentally disturbed daughter, an aborted fetus, strange romantic rectangles.

The restraint of these short chapters, as well as Didion's language choices, are impeccably original. A fascinating peek at a different time, and a lovely start of an icon's writing career.

4.0 out of 5.0 Broken Down Golf Carts.

2 comments:

Joy said...

Sounds interesting, Kristin. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

MindFul MiMi said...

Hi Kristin,
I read Didion's 'A year of magical thinking' about her year after the death of her husband. I found her writing to be very engaging and it pulled me in. So I will give this a try.