Additional Book Information

Series: NYRB Classics
Pages: 184
Publication Date: August 30, 2016

Slow Days, Fast CompanyThe World, the Flesh, and L.A.

by Eve Babitz, introduction by Matthew Specktor

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No one burned hotter than Eve Babitz. Possessing skin that radiated “its own kind of moral laws,” spectacular teeth, and a figure that was the stuff of legend, she seduced seemingly everyone who was anyone in Los Angeles for a long stretch of the 1960s and ’70s. One man proved elusive, however, and so Babitz did what she did best, she wrote him a book. Slow Days, Fast Company is a full-fledged and full-bodied evocation of a bygone Southern California that far exceeds its mash-note premise. In ten sun-baked, Santa Ana wind–swept sketches, Babitz re-creates a Los Angeles of movie stars distraught over their success, socialites on three-day drug binges holed up in the Chateau Marmont, soap-opera actors worried that tomorrow’s script will kill them off, Italian femmes fatales even more fatal than Babitz. And she even leaves LA now and then, spending an afternoon at the house of flawless Orange County suburbanites, a day among the grape pickers of the Central Valley, a weekend in Palm Springs where her dreams of romance fizzle and her only solace is Virginia Woolf. In the end it doesn’t matter if Babitz ever gets the guy—she seduces us.

by Eve Babitz, introduction by Matthew Specktor


Her writing took multiple forms. . . . But in the center was always Babitz and her sensibility—fun and hot and smart, a Henry James–loving party girl.
—Naomi Fry, New Republic

Babitz takes to the page lightly, slipping sharp observations into roving, conversational essays and perfecting a kind of glamorous shrug.
—Kaitlin Phillips, Bookforum

[Babitz] achieved that American ideal: art that stays loose, maintains its cool, is purely enjoyable enough to be mistaken for simple entertainment. It’s a tradition that includes Duke Ellington, Fred Astaire, Preston Sturges, Ed Ruscha, and, it goes without saying, Marilyn Monroe.
—Lili Anolik, Vanity Fair

Undeniably the work of a native, in love with her place. This quality of the intrinsic and the indigenous is precisely what has been missing from almost all the fiction about Hollywood...the accuracy and feeling with which she delineates LA is a fresh quality in California writing.
—Larry McMurtry, The Washington Post

Eve Babitz was Los Angeles' greatest bard. Promiscuous but discerning, the bombshell with a brain bonded with Joan Didion and bedded Jim Morrison… Babitz is finally getting the literary comeback she deserves.
—Lili Loofbourow, The Week

[The] radiantly specific Slow Days, Fast Company...might serve to explicate LA better than any other book I’ve ever read... Like her generational and aesthetic peer Renata Adler, Babitz has a nervous, windblown eye, a knack for perceptual and associative leaps. Like her West Coast fellow Joan Didion, she has a stringent–in fact, rather stark–intelligence...Babitz’s perceptions, her aphoristic formulations, are legion and strike me as both startling and profound.
—Matthew Specktor, Tin House blog

Her dishy, evocative style has never been characterized as Joan Didion-deep but it's inarguably more fun and inviting, providing equally sharp insights on the mood and meaning of Southern California.
—Laura Pearson, Chicago Tribune

In these ten cajoling tales, Los Angeles is the patient, the heroine, hero, victim, and aggressor: the tales a marvel of free-form madness. Like Renata Adler, Eve Babitz has fact, never telling too much.

Babitz’ collection of essays, Slow Days, Fast Company, the best non-fiction written about the Joys of Sensuous LA, I have always thought right up there with Joan Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem.
—Lee Grove, The Boston Globe