Additional Book Information
Series: NYRB Classics
Publication Date: October 6, 2015
by Eve Babitz, introduction by Holly Brubach
Journalist, party girl, bookworm, artist, muse: by the time she’d hit thirty, Eve Babitz had played all of these roles. Immortalized as the nude beauty facing down Duchamp and as one of Ed Ruscha’s Five 1965 Girlfriends, Babitz’s first book showed her to be a razor-sharp writer with tales of her own. Eve’s Hollywood is an album of vivid snapshots of Southern California’s haute bohemians, of outrageously beautiful high-school ingenues and enviably tattooed Chicanas, of rock stars sleeping it off at the Chateau Marmont. And though Babitz’s prose might appear careening, she’s in control as she takes us on a ride through an LA of perpetual delight, from a joint serving the perfect taquito, to the corner of La Brea and Sunset where we make eye contact with a roller-skating hooker, to the Watts Towers. This “daughter of the wasteland” is here to show us that her city is no wasteland at all but a glowing landscape of swaying fruit trees and blooming bougainvillea, buffeted by earthquakes and the Santa Ana winds—and every bit as seductive as she is.
One of the truly original writers of 20th-century Los Angeles.
—Kevin Dettmar, The Atlantic
The writing—its innocence, its sophistication, its candor, its wit, its profligacy and pluck, its willingness to fly in the face of received wisdom, its sheer headlong, impish glee—made me positively dizzy with pleasure.
—Lili Anolik, Vanity Fair
Los Angeles-born glamour girl, bohemian, artist, muse, sensualist, wit and pioneering foodie Eve Babitz . . . reads like Nora Ephron by way of Joan Didion, albeit with more lust and drugs and tequila . . . Reading Babitz is like being out on the warm open road at sundown, with what she called, in another book, '4/60 air conditioning'—that is, going 60 miles per hour with all four windows down. You can feel the wind in your hair.
—Dwight Garner, The New York Times
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’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
Babitz's style is cool, conversational, loose, yet weighted with a seemingly effortless poetry. Unlike her contemporary, Joan Didion, Babits isn't staring into the abyss and reporting back; but she does want to tell you how good the light is out by the abyss.
—Andrew Male, The Guardian
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
It's so good that I don't want to finish it.
—Laia Garcia, LennyLetter
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.
[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 Sévigné, 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.