Aug 05, 2019lukasevansherman rated this title 2 out of 5 stars
"I know what 'nothing' means, and keep on playing."
Joan Didion's second novel, from 1970, is a corrosive and corroded X-ray of Hollywood. While Didion was born in California and wrote extensively about the state, she also seemed to have a mild contempt for it, as many people reflexively do. Criticizing the shallowness and destructiveness of a group of actors, directors, and agents seems, well, a little shallow in itself, although it's an impressive tradition that includes "Day of the Locust," "The Last Tycoon," and "The Deer Park." Call it the L.A. wasteland novel. Didion was a great essayist who was not an especially great novelist, even if the prose here is taut and economical. I think it's her clear contempt for all her characters that is rather off-putting and a little disingenuous, considering that she wrote a few screenplays. She's also overly fond of a certain slur for gay people. Check out the recent documentary on Netflix, "The Center Will Not Hold." It was directed by her nephew.