'Play It As It Lays' by Joan Didion
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Play It As It Lays
By Joan Didion

I think this novel about a Los Angeles actress, Maria, having a meltdown in the 1960s is one of the more accessible things Joan Didion has ever written. I always think of Didion and Maria when I am in Los Angeles: the strip malls and the curly expressway on-and-off ramps, the oil rigs that look like dinosaurs and the Taco Bells. She evokes that strange alienation and sad glamour you feel coming in from the airport or driving along the city's freeways.

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