Hollywood's Eve

Eve Babitz and the Secret History of L.A.

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About The Book

“I practically snorted this book, stayed up all night with it. Anolik decodes, ruptures, and ultimately intensifies Eve’s singular irresistible glitz.” —Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker

“The Eve Babitz book I’ve been waiting for. What emerges isn’t just a portrait of a writer, but also of Los Angeles: sprawling, melancholic, and glamorous.” —Stephanie Danler, author of Sweetbitter

Los Angeles in the 1960s and 70s was the pop culture capital of the world—a movie factory, a music factory, a dream factory. Eve Babitz was the ultimate factory girl, a pure product of LA.

The goddaughter of Igor Stravinsky and a graduate of Hollywood High, Babitz posed in 1963, at age twenty, playing chess with the French artist Marcel Duchamp. She was naked; he was not. The photograph, cheesecake with a Dadaist twist, made her an instant icon of art and sex. Babitz spent the rest of the decade rocking and rolling on the Sunset Strip, honing her notoriety. There were the album covers she designed: for Buffalo Springfield and the Byrds, to name but a few. There were the men she seduced: Jim Morrison, Ed Ruscha, Harrison Ford, to name but a very few.

Then, at nearly thirty, her It girl days numbered, Babitz was discovered—as a writer—by Joan Didion. She would go on to produce seven books, usually billed as novels or short story collections, always autobiographies and confessionals. Under-known and under-read during her career, she’s since experienced a breakthrough. Now in her mid-seventies, she’s on the cusp of literary stardom and recognition as an essential—as the essential—LA writer. Her prose achieves that American ideal: art that stays loose, maintains its cool, and is so sheerly enjoyable as to be mistaken for simple entertainment.

For Babitz, life was slow days, fast company until a freak fire in the 90s turned her into a recluse, living in a condo in West Hollywood, where Lili Anolik tracked her down in 2012. Anolik’s elegant and provocative new book is equal parts biography and detective story. It is also on dangerously intimate terms with its subject: artist, writer, muse, and one-woman zeitgeist, Eve Babitz.

About The Author

Photograph by Michael Benabib

Lili Anolik is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. Her work has also appeared in Harper’s, Esquire, and The Believer. She is the author of Hollywood's Eve and lives in New York City with her husband and two small sons.

 

Why We Love It

This book is many things—a biography, a critical appreciation, a philosophical investigation, a sociological study, a cultural commentary, a memoir-in-disguise. What it is above all else though, is a love story: the lover, Lili; the love object, Eve Babitz. —Colin H., VP, Editor in Chief on Hollywood’s Eve

Product Details

  • Publisher: Scribner (January 2019)
  • Length: 288 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781501125799

Raves and Reviews

“The first injectable biography.” —James Wolcott, Vanity Fair columnist and author of Lucking Out

“Lili Anolik has hunted and captured her favorite forgotten author and helped to save Babitz’s long out-of-print books from the dustbin of cultural history. Now, like Babitz before her, she has created her own genre: fan nonfiction. In fevered, up-all-night-chain-smoking-at-the-Chateau prose perfectly suited to her subject, she excavates the lost world that Babitz so deftly wove into her autofiction.” —Karina Longworth, creator and host of You Must Remember This

“Read Lili Anolik’s book in the same spirit you’d read a new Eve Babitz, if there was one: for the gossip and for the writing. Both are extraordinary.” —Jonathan Lethem, author of Motherless Brooklyn

“If there is a fresher, more vibrant voice than Lili Anolik's out there, I don't know of it. She is a true original.”  —Graydon Carter 

“There's no better way to look at Hollywood in that magic decade, the 1970s, than through Eve Babitz's eyes. Eve knew everyone, slept with everyone, used, amused, and abused everyone. And then there's Eve herself: a cult figure turned into a legend in Anolik's electrifying book. This is a portrait as mysterious, maddening-and seductive-as its subject.” —Peter Biskind, author of Easy Riders, Raging Bulls

“Lili Anolik's love letter to Eve Babitz is as probing and intelligent as it is outrageously fun, swirling with secrets and gossip, celebrity and art, feminism and literature and tragedy and sex and sex and sex. A glorious trip through the looking glass of a golden-age L.A., Hollywood’s Eve makes the case for Babitz as chronicler and muse of an era even as it paints an unsparing picture of its lost illusions.” —Joe Hagan, author of Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine 

“Let other writers worship at the banal altar of L.A. Thanatos; Anolik’s Eve is the fearless beating heart of L.A. Eros, and her inimitable voice comes alive in Anolik’s own lovingly warm and penetrating celebration of Babitz’s magnificent beauty, wildness and art.“ —Elizabeth Frank, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Cheat and Charmer

“Anolik shares deep cuts from Babitz's writing and influence over the major players of the era… Come for the LA intrigue; stay for the surprising moral of the story.” Kirkus Reviews

“Perfect for fans of Hollywood in its glory years, this is a biography energetically told.” —Publishers Weekly

“Anolik now presents the full jaw-dropping drama of Babitz’s on-the-edge life and complicated personality, paired with an account of Anolik's pursuit of her wily subject. With the recent reissue of Babitz's books, this radical American writer of stunning verve, candor, and insight is truly a phoenix rising.”Booklist

“The Eve Babitz story you've been looking for—a true page-turner about an icon of Los Angeles' 1960s art scene that'll satisfy  your thirst for glitz, glam, and drama.”—Women’s Day

“[A] loving and perceptive new book on Babitz… [Babitz’s] unique and entertaining body of work is now crowned by Lili Anolik’s Hollywood’s Eve.”—Los Angeles Review of Books

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