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.Read more...
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.
- ISBN-13: 9781590178904
- ISBN-10: 1590178904
- Publisher: New York Review of Books
- Publish Date: October 2015
- Page Count: 352
- Dimensions: 8 x 5 x 0.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.8 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-11-16
- Reviewer: Staff
In this reissued collection of autobiographical essays, first published in 1972, Babitz (L.A. Woman) describes coming of age amid the glamour of 1950s and '60s Hollywood. Her chronicle is laced with acerbic wit and sparkling charm. Babitz peppers her writing with cultural references that include Marlon Brando, Janis Joplin, and Igor Stravinsky. The essays cover Babitz's family history, the halls of Hollywood High (where the school mascot is the Sheik, after Rudolph Valentino's character in the silent film of the same name), and her early adulthood. 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. "I got deflowered on two cans of Rainier Ale when I was 17," she begins her essay "Sins of the Green Death," an unflinching look at her sexual awakening and disillusionment with education and the values of her parents. 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. Hollywood is, she says, quoting Jim Morrison, "trapped in a prison of her own devise," but it is a prison she seems glad to be trapped in. (Oct.)