RARA-AVIS: Didion-iana

From: chrisaschneider@earthlink.net
Date: 01 Oct 2003

-----Original Message----- From: Michael Robison < zspider@gte.net> Sent: Sep 30, 2003 5:03 PM To: rara-avis@icomm.ca Subject: RARA-AVIS: Kantner, Pancake, Brody, Didion, and West

Right now I'm finishing up one that Jim Blue (I think) recommended about a year ago, Joan Didion's PLAY IT AS IT LAYS. They compare her to Nathanael West on the back cover. I can see a couple reasons. Human cruelty figures big. And this particular one is a classic Hollywood book, reminiscent of West's DAY OF THE LOCUST. All the classic Hollywood themes done up in style.



If you like "Play It As It Lays," do check out the essay "Some Dreamers of the Golden Dream" in Didion's collection "Slouching Toward Bethlehem." Among its other virtues, that essay has a memorable line alluding to "Double Indemnity." That line was what confirmed me in my embattled love of JD's writing.

You might also want to read Pauline Kael's review of the Didion-scripted "Play It As It Lays" movie. The review is vicious, vicious, and *entirely* unfair ... but it does help to put the material's attitudes into perspective.

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