Eve's Hollywood, cruelly out of print for four decades or some equally ridiculous length of time, is categorized as fiction but could just as easily be used as a travel guide to a bygone L.A. or possibly a user's guide to life. Effortlessly witty and armed to the teeth with an inimitable style, Babitz is in a class by herself.
I hadn't lived until I had lived vicariously through Eve Babitz in the Los Angeles only she can describe --full of seduction, LSD, and celebrity rendezvous. Delightful! Babitz is among my favorite writers of prose. A fun summer read.
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.
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.
“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 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.” —Steve Martin
"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, L.A. 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, L.A. 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