Liked It1 of 1 members found this review helpful
“Perhaps the most depressing, disturbing book I've ever read. And that's saying a lot. Struggled with how many stars to give, but I do love Joan Didion. Some of her sentences simply take my breath away.”see full review » see other reviews »
Didn’t Like It1 of 1 members found this review helpful
“I guess it's one of those stories where the point is to capture a time and place because you certainly can't find anything in the characters to care about. They're empty and don't even care about themselves. I was pretty bored by it.”see full review » see other reviews »
“This book and Out of Arica are my favorite books - for very different reasons.”Angel wrote this review Sunday, February 17, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Didion's 1970 tale of ennui among the dissolute, debauched Hollywood crowd appears on the Time magazine list of the 100 best novels written after 1923. That's a big stretch. Her characters are as boring as they are bored, which is admittedly pretty daring in a character-driven piece of writing, and you long for a Charles Manson-type to turn up and deliver a message. No Manson; no point; no sense to this shopworn story. ”Mitchell Shannon wrote this review Monday, January 21, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I'm having to read this twice, as it was clear from the start of the first reading I would probably have to.”sid_rw wrote this review Friday, September 21, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Yes, as some reviewers have pointed out, the story is dated. But Didion's description of a mental breakdown so intense that only death or nihilism can be the outcome is far from a dated subject. A very stylistic novel that is also a very fast read, this book will stay with me for awhile. ”Gretchen F wrote this review Sunday, May 6, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Perhaps the most depressing, disturbing book I've ever read. And that's saying a lot. Struggled with how many stars to give, but I do love Joan Didion. Some of her sentences simply take my breath away.”Katrina Willis wrote this review Monday, December 19, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“A depressing and haunting account of a woman's descent into despair and depression in late 60's Hollywood.”Rebecca S wrote this review Friday, September 30, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Joan Didion has written a stark, grim and expressly truthful novel of the world of Hollywood in the late 1960's. The main character, Maria Wyeth, is analogous to the setting; she is as dry and empty as a Santa Ana wind blowing through the canyons of Los Angeles. Definitely a difficult book to read (in terms of subject matter), but one that will strike a tinny and discordant note, especially to those of us who have lived out here. Powerful and unforgiving, the book files away the gloss of Hollywood, leaving the damaged dreammakers of Tinsel Town exposed for the flawed beings we make of them.
“I had no idea what I was in for when I picked up this book. I loved it, even though I didn't quite understand all of it (perhaps you aren't supposed to... Maria's drug use, repression of her mother's suicide and her own abortion?) This book is raw, emotional for the reader (though the narration is nearly emotionless). Spare writing at it's best! ”Kim J wrote this review Friday, August 5, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Augusta N said: 5 Stars
The story of an actress reminiscing about her life while recovering from a mental breakdown in a hospital.
This reminded me a little of Raymond Carver's stories (which I adore). Sparse writing combined with a a lack of details. The chapters are short and sharp. A focus in a lot of Carver's stories was that people never say what they mean, so you would often have to gage what they were saying by their actions, not their words. I get that same feeling from the characters in this novel, there are a lot of gaps (left on purpose) that is left to the reader to interpret.
Maria seems to lack of purpose in life, which she seems to seek by driving very long distances along motorways. She seems to have cut herself off from life. Her friends, especially Carter, spend a lot of time trying to get some, any, kind of reaction out of her, but her most common phrase in these situations is "Nothing".
The setting is Hollywood - mostly very corrupt rich people and a jaded movie crowd. It is a tragic story and a ruthless depiction of modern society.”