Play It As It Lays

  • by Joan Didion
  • Narrated by Lauren Fortgang
  • 3 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A ruthless dissection of American life in the late 1960s, 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 listener. Set in a place beyond good and evil-literally in Hollywood, Las Vegas, and the barren wastes of the Mojave Desert, but figuratively in the landscape of an arid soul - it remains more than three decades after its original publication a profoundly disturbing novel, riveting in its exploration of a woman and a society in crisis and stunning in the still-startling intensity of its prose.

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What the Critics Say

"There hasn't been another American writer of Joan Didion's quality since Nathanel West.... A terrifying book." (John Leonard, The New York Times)
"Simple, restrained, intelligent, well-structured, witty, irresistibly relentless, forthright in diction, and untainted by the sensational, Play It As It Lays is a book of outstanding literary quality." (Library Journal)
"[A] scathing novel, distilling venom in tiny drops, revealing devastation in a sneer and fear in a handful of atomic dust." (J. R. Frakes, Book World)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Absolutely Worst Audiobook I've Ever Heard

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

If the woman reading this book had read it in a less cartoonishly animated voice


What did you like best about this story?

It's an amazing story, Didion is an all-around prolific writer


What didn’t you like about Lauren Fortgang’s performance?

She clearly had absolutely no understanding of the tone of the book. She sounded like she was reading strawberry shortcake children's book. Her voice is awful.


Any additional comments?

Honestly, I think that this woman's reading was utterly ridiculous. I plan to unsubscribe from audible because I can't believe that anyone would ask me to pay for such an outrageously bad performance.

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- Patricia

a bit existential and good

the episodic structure made me think of Kosinski and there is something a little Hemingway-ish about it. It is a quick listen, a tapestry type effect that builds together and not everything is explained away. life is messy and some people get a little lost and the main woman, Mariah, has lost her footing. there are a lot of bits that you have to add up for yourself and the whole mosaic is puzzling, a little of the nature vs. nurture thing maybe, and the user atmosphere of relationships, and the disconnected bonds of relationships. interesting.
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- Darryl

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-27-2013
  • Publisher: Audible Studios