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Eve's Hollywood (New York Review Books Classics) Paperback – October 6, 2015
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“Eve’s Hollywood has become a classic of LA life. The names in the dedication, Jim Morrison, David Geffen, Andy Warhol, Stephen Stills, and more, indicate the era and depth of this important book.”
"Sharp and funny throughout, Babitz offers an almost cinematic portrait of Los Angeles: gritty, glamorous, toxic and intoxicating.” —Carmela Ciuraru, The New York Times
“It's so good that I don't want to finish it.” —Laia Garcia, LennyLetter
“Eve’s Hollywood is less a straightforward story or tell-all than a sure-footed collection of elliptical yet incisive vignettes and essays about love, longing, beauty, sex, friendship, art, artifice, and above all, Los Angeles. . . . Reading West (and Fante and Chandler and Cain and the like) made me want to go to Los Angeles. Babitz makes me feel like I’m there.” —Deborah Shapiro, The Second Pass
“Eve Babitz is to prose what Chet Baker, with his light, airy style, lyrical but also rhythmic, detached but also sensuous, is to jazz.” —Lili Anolik, Vanity Fair
“A beautiful stylist whose flourishes were almost always carefully doled out, calibrated, and sure… The joy of Babitz’s writing is in her ability to suggest that an experience is very nearly out of language while still articulating its force within it.” —Naomi Fry, New Republic
“Babitz skips around time with ease and writes with the airy, knowing offhandedness of Renata Adler’s Jen Fain, except she eschews Manhattan sophistication in favor of a Hollywood unpretentiousness.”—Alison Herman, Flavorwire
“Her chronicle is laced with acerbic wit and sparkling charm . . . Babitz is a keen observer of her social milieu and the effects of beauty on power, and comes across as both a savvy cosmopolite and an ingénue in the same breath . . . Babitz takes the reader on travels to New York and Rome, but California provides her main canvas: a place where movie stars are discovered, earthquakes reverberate, and beautiful women overdose on drugs.” —Publishers Weekly
“[A] charming tour guide who takes a wasteland and gives us back a wonderland.” —Steffie Nelson, New York Magazine
“Her voice on the page is no less mesmerizing than her presence in a room . . . The singular spectrum of her adventures, her friends, and her tastes reveal themselves in her unconventional and delightful dedication page(s).” —Nicole Jones, Vanity Fair
"Eve Babitz, whose autobiographical vignettes of LA had an easygoing Mediterranean warmth and acceptance (she didn't billboard over the dark side of LA and Hollywood, she just didn't elevate it into a noir nihilism) that was the antithesis of Joan Didion's desert vision of bleached bones beneath numbed nerves. The pleasure principle still prevailed in Eve's writing, whatever the setbacks and heartbreaks." —James Wolcott, Vanity Fair
"Her voice manages to be both serious and happy, with a run-on syntax that feels like a friend on her second glass of wine. Relentlessly unsentimental, she sees people for who they are, regardless of who she wants them to be . . . In Eve's Hollywood, she writes with the aching immediacy of adolescence and the wide-angle perspective of a woman much older—and she's only in her 20s." —Holly Brubach, The New York Times
"What truly sets Babitz apart from L.A. writers like Didion or Nathanael West . . . is that no matter what cruel realities she might face, a part of her still buys the Hollywood fantasy, feels its magnetic pull as much as that Midwestern hopeful who heads to the coast in pursuit of 'movie dreams.'" —Steffie Nelson, The Los Angeles Review of Books
"Eve Babitz is a little like Madame de Sevigne, that inveterate letter-writer of Louis XIV's time, transposed to the Chateau Marmont in the late 20th-Century—lunching, chatting, dressing, loving and crying in Hollywood, that latter-day Versailles." —Mollie Gregory, The Los Angeles Times
"As the cynosure of the counterculture, Eve Babitz knew everybody worth knowing; slept with everybody worth sleeping with and better still, made herself felt in every encounter." —Daniel Bernardi, PopMatters
“Her romp through ’70s L.A. winkingly fulfills the promises of pleasure and delight so often scorched to nil by writers like Joan Didion.” —Ian Epstein, Vulture
“Eve’s Hollywood—a memoir of sorts that detailed her life growing up in California, attending Hollywood High, and hanging out with a bevy of rock and art stars—announced Babitz as a writer with a brand of glamour that was sophisticated yet gritty, intellectual with a lust for life and also for, well, sex. Her writing moves as fast as her nights.” —Garage
About the Author
Eve Babitz is the author of several books of fiction, including Sex and Rage: Advice to Young Ladies Eager for a Good Time; L.A. Woman; and Black Swans: Stories. Her nonfiction works include Fiorucci, The Book and Two by Two: Tango, Two-Step, and the L.A. Night. She has written for publications including Ms. and Esquire and in the late 1960s designed album covers for the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, and Linda Ronstadt. Her novel Slow Days, Fast Company: The World, the Flesh, and L.A. (originally published in 1977) is forthcoming from NYRB Classics.
Holly Brubach is the author of Choura: The Memoirs of Alexandra Danilova; Girlfriend: Men, Women & Drag; and A Dedicated Follower of Fashion, a collection of essays. Formerly Style Editor of The New York Times Magazine, she has been a staff writer for The New Yorker and The Atlantic Monthly, as well as a frequent contributor to numerous magazines. She lives in Pittsburgh.
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There are only three thing sot say about cocaine. One, there is no such thing as enough. Two, it will never be as good as the first time. Three, those first two facts constitute a tragedy of expense in ways that can't be experienced unless you've had cocaine.
Here's her defense of L.A.:
It takes a certain kind of innocence to like L.A., anyway. It requires a certain plain happiness inside to be happy in L.A., to choose it and be happy here.
It is a smart, entertaining, profound, inspiring, and sometimes funny. I particularity liked the section called "The Landmark" in which she contemplates Janis Joplin's O.D. in which she suggests instead of shooting up in her hotel room she should have gone out for taquitos-one of life's great pleasures (something that I can appreciate as an ex-pat, it is extremely difficult to find good Mexican food outside of North America). She even includes a hand drawn map to show readers how to get to her favorite stand on Olvera Street.
Top international reviews
It's one of the best books I've ever read.
There I said it.
I had never heard of it until it came up in an episode of the Backlisted podcast, which - as an aside - I recommend if you enjoy reading. Although prepare to find yourself spending money each week.
It well-written throughout but occasionally it smacks you around the head with something so brilliant, beautiful or funny that you want to underline it or save it so you can pretend you said it. It's a series of short stories really, rather than a novel but that shouldn't stop you reading it. I can see myself re-reading this again and again. And lending it to friends. It's already high on my recommendations list.
Babitz is, to quote the blurb on the back of the book, 'Journalist, party girl, bookworm, artist, muse...' There's a picture out there of her, naked, playing Duchamp at chess. This is a woman who has seen things and can tell you about those things in a way that sparkles like a glass of champagne caught in the sunlight.
Read it. It's marvellous.