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Sex and Rage: A Novel

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  1,345 ratings  ·  139 reviews
"The entirety of Sex and Rage . . . is a kind of pushback against the notion of Southern California's banality and vanity: it gives great merit to simple beauty and solitude, and does its part to redeem the SoCal lifestyle." —The Paris Review (staff pick)

The popular rediscovery of Eve Babitz continues with this very special reissue of her novel, originally published in 197
Kindle Edition, 256 pages
Published July 1st 2017 by Counterpoint (first published 1979)
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Kate Olson
😍THIS BOOK ❤ I'm thanking Belletrist from the bottom of my heart for choosing the re-release of this 1979 classic as their July book club pick - I absolutely LOVE THIS BOOK. And I can't write a review of it since it's older than I am (just barely!) and everything I say will be redundant. I will say that there is almost NO SEX (or rage!) though, and it completely defied all of my expectations. This book is whip-smart and lush and I wanted to highlight 90% of it. It's sweet and terse and hopeful a ...more
Rachel Pollock
I really, really wanted to like this book. It came so highly recommended. However, by modern standards it reads like some stream of consciousness fever dream, like it's poorly edited. She has a beautiful authorial voice, but my god is it tedious to read.
Linda Robinson
Sep 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sparkling decadence. Faux naïf and picaresque are two new words I learned reading reviews of Babitz's work and life during the time this collection of scenes was written. A memoir/essay/fiction with the names only slightly changed to include the participants in this hedonistic romp from L.A. to N.Y. and back again. Paris Review compared Babitz to Lispector, both in the obsession with the space between words and meaning, and then again that both women were badly burned; Babitz from the hot ash of ...more
SEX AND RAGE by Eve Babitz - This was the July book club pick for Belletrist - So far I've been so impressed with the thoughtful selections by Belletrist. If you haven't been following, you must go there and follow now!

This book was originally published in 1979 and reissued this year. It centers around Jacaranda Leven (such a cool name), who is a surfer and a writer. She makes unapologetic decisions with such ease it will make you envious. I love that Los Angeles and New York City act as charac
Matthew Huff
Jul 31, 2017 rated it did not like it
Deathly dull. Literally nothing happens in this book, and its way too much "telling" with very little "showing." The title of this book is far and away the most interesting part. It was helpful in getting me in the right mood to sleep on a bus though.
I have to admit I was swept up in the seductively glamorous haze of Los Angeles that Eve Babitz concocts, the dreamy unreality of the movie industry an illusion that belies the darker side of the city and its denizens. Sex and Rage mostly takes place in the City of Angels during the late '60s and '70s, and is a thinly veiled memoir of the author, who, as an "It" Girl and groupie during this time, had an insider's view of the beautiful, wealthy, and fabulously eccentric people that populate her s ...more
Duke Haney
The golden statuette of a tangoing couple on the jacket of Eve Babitz's second novel, Sex and Rage, anticipates Babitz's later real-life interest in dance and mirrors the metaphorical tango of Sex and Rage's main characters: a surfer-artist adventuress modeled after Babitz herself, and a sexually ambiguous courtier of sorts to wealthy gadabouts who briefly make Los Angeles their playground. Though besotted with each other on a level that at least one of them will never admit, the adventuress and ...more
Chris Eells
I was provided Sex and Rage from Goodreads in exchange for an honest review.

Firstly, I thought this was a new book. It's actually a reprint from the late 70's. Secondly, this was a thinly veiled memoir. I had never heard of Eve Babitz before reading Sex and Rage, and now, having done so, can't really understand why people were so fascinated with her. I get the distinct feeling she was like the Kardashians of her time.

I wanted to read Sex and Rage because the blurb spoke of a strong young woman g
M.L. Rio
Babitz has a way with words and a way with character. This--an odd little novel about a California girl's brushes with money, celebrity, and substance abuse--is supremely clever in its subtlety. Each little climax fizzles out in confusion and disappointment, characters persistently misunderstand each other, and the loose ends are, more often than not, left loose. As fiction goes, it's defiantly realistic in that sense, a testament to the fact that real life often refuses to satisfy the way the m ...more
Natalie Rosselli
I didn't get it. I'm not even sure if there was something to get. I HATED jacaranda. In my opinion she was so problematic and self absorbed when she was a walking disaster. The self pity was REAL. She blamed everyone for her problems and kept manipulating Shelby for no reason at all. Also, her obsession with Max was pathetic and made zero sense. Also, where was the plot? I was waiting for there to be some sort of climax and it never happened. I read in a review that it was supposed to be about h ...more
Daniel Polansky
Reading Eve’s Hollywood a few months ago I found myself flabbergasted that such a vibrant, interesting, commercially viable force had more or less disappeared; this book, Babitz’s third and the first to fictionalize her experience as LA ingenue and rock and roll muse, goes a fair way towards explaining the mystery. It is utter shit—badly plotted, sloppily written, and more self-indulgent than second-rate fan fiction. I could go on for about ten more sentences to this effect but what would be the ...more
beautiful white girl with beautiful white girl problems. too much drugs, alcohol, sex, celebrity, etc. Babitz's writing is lovely, and she has crafted some interesting characters, but still, I was bored.
Lindsay Gaudio
Very dream like quality,but overall I just did not "get it" and for the life of me I don't understand the obsession with Max and the whole book revolving around her "revenge" and fear of him,as I'm very sure he was not straight. To each his own,but this book just wasn't my cup of tea.
Jan 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love immersing myself in the lives of women who would never associate with me, and I seem to be really into California right now. Basically, this was a fun one.
Sian Lile-Pastore
Aug 09, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I heard the author in conversation at the Hammer. She was lively, engaging, and the talk was so much fun. She used to be Ed Ruscha's girlfriend. She's the naked, curvaceous young woman playing chess with an elderly, dignified Marcel Duchamp in an unforgettable photograph (apparently, all he said when he saw her was "Alors!"). But this book I did not care for. It had fun and witty moments, but basically it is all about how charming and brilliant and wonderful is the protagonist (clearly the autho ...more
May 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ylenia by: Bookstagram
Eve Babitz is such an extraordinary storyteller.
I could read about people living in L.A., drinking their pain away, and talking about nothing ALL DAY LONG.
She is able to make every character instantly interesting, even the ones you're supposed to dislike or would dislike in real life.

I'm pretty sure Babitz is a cat person so she instantly had my respect as soon as a cat named Emilio was mentioned.
Jan 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eve Babitz kind of writes one book over and over but I really delight in that one book so whatever
Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Four stars only because it's not my favorite Eve. But it's still Eve, and it's wonderful.
I was introduced to Babitz recently via a recent article about her in Vanity Fair. The idea of an intellectual good-time girl intrigued me as it should, and I was dismayed to find that her work is not only largely unknown but also out of print. I was able to get a first edition copy o fSex and Rage via interlibrary loan to read and boy, am I ever glad I did. Babitz is glorious as a writer, the work hums with the fastness of the era, of the good time unapologetic choices that Jacaranda makes, doi ...more
Juliet Plouff
I hate writing bad reviews for books. I tried so hard to like this book. You know the feeling when you read something, and as soon as you finish you forget what you have just read, and have to reread it? That was me throughout this whole book. I really wish I liked it but it just wasn’t engaging enough for me.
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If Joan Didion and Shonda Rimes wrote a book together, you might get something like this. Little sex and little rage are present here in their literal forms - but the California ocean waves, Hollywood soapiness, and drama of publishing and the LA and NY elite abound in dreamy vignettes. So thrilled that I encountered this book, and I'm about to go read every other thing Babitz has written.
May 30, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I love Eve Babitz’s nonfiction and personal essays, and I hated this novel! Why! Am I tired of reading about LA? Beyond that, am I tired of reading about New York?
There's a lot more going on here than what the lithe, dreamy writing would have you believe. Much like Eve Babitz herself whose beauty and charisma distracted from her true depth and the sharpness of her mind. Mind you, she took pains (though never showing the effort) to perpetuate that illusion. I'm not going to lie: my reading of Sex and Rage was skewed towards my fascination with the glorious creature that is Eve Babitz. It does help to know a little bit about her when going into this book.

Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have seen this book around a lot and the title always made me unsure. I went to Wordstock and Counter Point was there and they convinced me to give it try. I am so glad I did. Eve Babitz has won me over and her writing has something in it that makes me want to read all of her work right away. Do not let the title turn you away this is a great coming of age story. Highly recommend!!
Oct 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this from start to finish. It’s implausible as all get out but the prose is poetic and I certainly see how it influenced a lot of the LA magical realism books I loved in middle and high school.
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not much sex, very little rage, but a great tango of literary novel and memoir. Eve Babitz tells her own story of the 1970s through the eyes of Jacaranda, a California surfer girl with glossy friends and a yen to be someone with something to say. The writing is lush and dreamy, the metaphors funny, often brilliant. Worth reading for a nostalgic look at LA and NYC thorough the eyes of a sharp observer with a wild imagination and a romantic heart.
Mar 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
1. You will fiercely fall in love with the real California.
The California of beaches and sunrises, of cotton dresses and sandals, of girls with no make up on, and waves, a sea of waves.
2. A lot of life is like surfing. Not two waves are the same, and you cannot really predict how a wave is going to crash, yet you prepare, and you can tell, because you feel it in your gut.
3. Everybody feels like an impostor. Or anyone who is actually human.
4. The 70ies were a lot like the 2010ies.
They had hipste
Nov 01, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to like this book and was eager to get it from the library, so that is why I’m so upset that it wasn’t a great book. I was into it in the beginning, jacaranda the surfer exploring people and personalities but then the plot started straying and the story momentum stalled. I had high hopes but was sadly disappointed.
Jun 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Suzanne by: Jeff
Shelves: l-a
I really enjoyed this hard-to-find book by one of my favorite authors, the delightful and underrated Eve Babitz. I have read most of her other (sadly) out of print works, but never this one before. Thanks again to Jeff for sending this to me. (See my September 2011 GR review of “Eve’s Hollywood”
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Babitz was born in Hollywood, California, the daughter of Mae, an artist, and Sol, a classical violinist on contract with 20th Century Fox.Her father was of Russian Jewish descent and her mother had Cajun (French) ancestry.Babitz's parents were friends with the composer Igor Stravinsky, who was her godfather.

In 1963, her first brush with notoriety came through Julian Wasser's iconic photograph of
“The two girls grew up at the edge of the ocean and knew it was paradise, and better than Eden, which was only a garden.” 27 likes
“It was all balance. But then, she already knew that from surfing.” 8 likes
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