In the back of my mind, I thought, Anytime I want, I can forsake this dinner party and jump into real life.
Eve Babitz's life is a dinner party, but you can't hate her for it: she curates it perfectly and offers up each dish with wit and compassion. The backdrop is her glamorous, incomparable LA. She weaves her ideas into sensual yet hilarious portraits It's easy to float in and out of Eve's tipsy, extravagant world.
Picked by Lily in Fort Greene
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.
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 Eve’s Hollywood is published by NYRB Classics.
Matthew Specktor is the author of the novels American Dream Machine and That Summertime Sound, as well as a nonfiction book of film criticism. He is a founding editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books.
“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
“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
“What we now call a ‘fictive memoir’ comes in the form of ten extended anecdotes about Los Angeles, delivered with all the gossipy sprezzatura of the most desirable dinner guest. Food, drink, drugs, sex, sunsets and a surfeit of move stars soak these tales with colour, while the most colourful component of all is our narrator herself.” —Hermione Hoby, TLS
“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, Boston Globe
“Imagine the incisive wit of Virginia Woolf mingling with the listlessness of Françoise Sagan—this is the work of Eve Babitz, an ingenue and poet. Her lyrical sensuality is both sexy and cerebral…this book sizzles with hedonistic abandon, sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll…it is the clarity of her language and her painterly style that cement her place in the pantheon of American literature.” —Sarah Nasar, bookseller at Atlantis Books (Santorini), British Airways High Life Magazine
“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
“Babitz’s sentences—fluffy, golden, and spunky—which appear flippant…but like Marilyn Monroe infusing the ditz with closeted intellectualism, Babitz has a genius for revealing the depths of ostensibly shallow waters.” —Monica McClure, The Culture Trip
“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
"Undeniably the work of a native, in love with her place. This quality of the intrinsic and the indigenous is precisely what has been mising 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, Washington Post
“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”—Vogue
"Babitz loves LA. These ten pieces are a love story about her city...slick and clever as ever, and keenly perceptive as ever."—Michele M. Leber, Library Journal