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Slow Days, Fast Company: The World, the Flesh, and L.A.: Tales

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  1,844 ratings  ·  233 reviews
Eve Babitz captured the voluptuous quality of L.A. in the1960s in a wildly original, totally unique voice. These stories are time capsule gems, as poignant and startling today as they were when published in the early 1970s. Eve Babitz is not well known today, but she should be. Her first hand experiences in the L.A. cultural scene, translated into haunting fiction, are an ...more
Hardcover, 178 pages
Published January 1st 1977 by Random House (NY)
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Inness I would recommend:

Speedboat by Renata Adler

White Oleandar by Janet Fitch

Slouching Toward Bethlehem by Joan Didion

I'm with the band- Pamela Des Barres…more
I would recommend:

Speedboat by Renata Adler

White Oleandar by Janet Fitch

Slouching Toward Bethlehem by Joan Didion

I'm with the band- Pamela Des Barres
Very different tonally, but entertaining and emerging from the same time/social circle(less)

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Average rating 4.23  · 
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Start your review of Slow Days, Fast Company: The World, the Flesh, and L.A.: Tales
In the 1960s and 1970s, when I used to dread the approach of another lonely weekend, I wished I could meet a girl like Eve Babitz, intelligent, articulate, and drop-dead beautiful. And there she was, living just a few miles from me in Hollywood while I was in Santa Monica. Describing a friend of hers, "she lacked that element, raw and beckoning, that trailed like a vapor" behind her.

Like her first book, Eve's Hollywood, Slow Days, Fast Company: The World, The Flesh, and L.A. is a series of
Peter Landau
Oct 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For the last 15 years I’ve lived in Los Angeles. Now I want to get out. It’s a good time. We just sold our house and my wife completed her masters, plus she hates her job. There are the kids, but I didn’t ask them to be here. They just stuck around. Now they’re an anchor around our necks. Why can’t we just pull up stakes and move this circus elsewhere? I know, I know, better than most. My parents relocated from New York City to the suburbs when I was eight and I’ve only just come to terms with ...more
Sep 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-bought
A classic Southern California book of fiction, or is it a memoir of sorts? Eve Babitz is a combination of Marcel Proust and F.Scott Fitzgerald. Her observations of life in Los Angeles and slightly beyond that city, is razor-focused, and her mini-portraits of various friends and lovers are masterfully written. I mentioned Proust, because she has a knack for documenting her times. Perhaps even journalistic skills in capturing in a few strokes or words, a complicated personality. F Scott, because ...more
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nyrb
Well crafted short stories about life in 1960s-70s LaLa Land and the famous, semi-famous and wanna-be famous.

S0 a,wesome that NYRB Classics has republished this collection as Eve Babitz was not just a Hollywood IT girl. These are sharp, witty and intelligent observations of her life and LA.

“Women want to be loved like roses. They spend hours perfecting their eyebrows and toes and inventing irresistible curls that fall by accident down the back of their necks from otherwise austere hair-dos. They
Sep 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It's easy to label Eve Babitz a "muse" of men who went on to become famous. Even the ubiquitously-mentioned photo of her with Famous Male Artist is held up as a symbol of her muse-ish-ness. But I am starting to suspect that calling women "muses" is a way to strip them of all of their teeth and agency: they become accessories rather than agents.

And boy oh boy is Eve Babitz an agent: all teeth and light and fire. She knows how to turn a phrase. She is another face of the same God of Letters as
May 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: l-a
Just finished re-read of new edition from the New York Review of Books. So glad this book is back in print. It has always been my favorite of hers.
For anyone who loves L.A., Eve Babitz is more fun to read than any other local author about this crazy and unique environment we Angelenos occupy physically and psychologically, the reality and the mythology of it all. For me, she is the quintessential L.A. writer - the blog below says it best: "she gets it."
Jan 25, 2018 rated it liked it
A fun series of memoiristic nuggets that read like missives from a lost world: the vanished kingdom of 1970s L.A. swingers. Babitz is wry, detached, and pretty good with language. I'd recommend this book for short airplane rides.
Feb 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful. I wasn't anticipating such lyrical prose, or such a good sense of her personality. A wee bit Didion, a touch of real-life Valley of the Dolls, I loved it.
I had never read Eve Babitz or even heard of her, but NYRB is always a sure way of getting to any author or work. I found this in an airport, and read it knowing I would find something good, but this is even better than I thought. I don't think I have many references of women authors writing about California this way, and with this combination of fiction and memoir sort of. This was a great surprise, she speaks of things that I love to hear about, love, sex, fame parties, but she's also just ...more
Sian Lile-Pastore
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
I LOVE Eve Babitz! I love reading books set in LA in the 70s! I want a bungalow and a pool in 70s LA and possibly be a bit drunk all the time. These stories (mainly about men) are just so effortless and funny and smart, like hanging out with the coolest girl ever.
Feb 10, 2016 added it
Eve Babitz is famous for being photographed nude while playing chess with Duchamp. Knowing this in advance does not set you up for disappointment when you read her essays. She's as cool as Joan Didion and deserves as much reverence. She doesn’t have Didion’s elegance or dread but she has a similar sense of darkness, wit, glamour, and hypersensitivity. Mainly the difference with Babitz is that she has less money and she writes with joy. I wish I were a libertine but I tend too much toward regret ...more
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: orgasmic
Who's better than Eve Babitz? NO. ONE.
Fashioned with a hell of a personality, one cannot help but get tangled in this woman's voice. Never once did I bother about which part was fiction and which part really ensued in her life. I found myself lost in this quirky composed book about and by Eve Babitz. I feel as if the quick wit at times masked sadness and loneliness.

Slow Days, Fast Company is a collection of vignettes of Babitz audacious telling of her days. Never did she shy away from speaking about her beauty, drug use,
Sensuous and savvy Eve Babitz paints a picture of LA in the 1970s-80s as a series of personal vignettes in this fictional memoir. The tales of Slow Days, Fast Company are completely believable, and it’s impossible to know where actual experiences end and fiction begins. And it doesn’t matter. The protagonist just happens to be a brilliant but not always sober writer who likes sex, which she considers the highest art form. Surrounded by actors, designers, and other notably famous sorts, she looks ...more
Sarah S
Dec 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: modern-classics
3.5. It was good, just not great. The Garden of Allah was my favorite.
Jun 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kirsten by: Podcast Librarian Is In
[1977] (ACOB) A series of short pieces, each could be almost stand-alone but are, I think, much better taken as a whole. They don't tell a story that way necessarily but it does form a fuller picture of her and her world. I really liked the writing, her descriptions of things, the stories she had to tell, the way she related to other people and to her beloved L.A.. They were funny and honest. I really liked her a lot. I think she'd be one of those really fun, slightly high-maintenance, maybe in ...more
Daniel Polansky
Any writer will tell you the most annoying thing about being a writer is telling people you’re a writer (also, editors.) Most people, being on the whole both 1) literate and 2) self-absorbed, secretly/not that secretly believe that their lives would make for fascinating reading, confident that their autobiography contains within it the seeds of a fascinating, indeed, of a necessary narrative. That they themselves generally do not read is a helpful aid to this delusion, allowing them to conceive ...more
May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
There is something infinitely sad about this rollicking book. Eve Babitz is a contemporary of mine. Her high school times were my times. Her time at Bennington coincided with my time at Williams. Yet, we are and were worlds apart. Her life of luxury and indulgence has so little to do with the dour political and athletic world of discipline that I lived in while succumbing to so many of her temptations. There is something so fulfilling about her prose and her aspirations. The stoic sparseness of ...more
Sep 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Swimming against the tide with this one. Much better than Sex and Rage, and I don't know if part of my dislike was that I listened to it as an audio book where the tone of the narrator was lascivious, jaded and scornful, although in fact that is mostly the tone of her writing. She's a good writer, and I admire her observant insights and lovely turns of phrase, but in the end it's a memoir and I don't really like her. Her characters are all essentially superficial which illustrates the ...more
Linda Robinson
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Eve Babitz was born in the right place at the right time, and she was born to write. Wild wacky wonderful writing. Every page is chockablock with gems. The person who wrote the jacket blurb actually read the book. Hilarity, pathos, ruminations, romance. Love/not love. What women want, can't get and continually miss. What men may or may not want, but then who the hell really knows? There are fantastic characters that are as real as anybody gets in LA. Agendas, clothes, great hair. I know where ...more
Dec 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Start to finish, this book by Eve Babitz is wonderful.

"Arrogance and conceit and remarks like that one are much more fun than starving all the time. Once it is established that you are you and everyone else is merely perfect, ordinarily, factory-like can wreak all the havoc you want."
My first confession for the new year: I'm in love with Eve Babitz. I wish I'd found her sooner.

The way she describes Californian sunsets; the pleasure that can be garnered from the relentless Santa Ana winds; a good meal; the particularities of a temporary lover...she brings you right into a very specific time and place. A literary time capsule, I lost myself in her writing.
Apr 10, 2017 marked it as paused  ·  review of another edition
I may return to this someday. Eve Babitz has a friendly, engaging voice and she seems like a lot of fun but there's just something about this that didn't click with me. It was fine, by no means bad, I just felt sort of bored, which is unexpected given the sheer quantity of drugs and alcohol and threesomes mentioned.
Olivia Thoelke
Jan 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Babitz laces these ostensibly loose vignettes in such a way that provides a hazy sense of clarity, an understanding of sun-drenched California glamour. Her writing is sharp-witted, almost cerebral at times, but consistently self-aware, and dripping with golden aphorisms.
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
- People nowadays get upset at the idea of being in love with a city, especially Los Angeles. People think you should be in love with other people or your work or justice. I've been in love with people and ideas in several cities and learned that the lovers I've loved and the ideas I've embraced depended on where I was, how cold it was, and what I had to do to be able to stand it. It's very easy to stand LA, which is why it's almost inevitable that all sorts of ideas get entertained, to say ...more
Liz Pardey
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It's Eve Babitz, it's Los Angeles in the 60s and 70s -- what's not to love? In case you don’t know, Eve is the daughter of a studio musician – the studios hired talented musicians to compose and perform the sound track for each movie. Her parents knew many famous artists and those involved with the motion picture industry. Eve and her sister grew up in this milieu and they learned a maturity and familiarity with fame not available to everyone. Eve was the naked woman playin chess with Marcel ...more
Aug 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
“That’s the trouble with Hollywood; the things that don’t exist are likely to kill you if you threaten them.” No one I’ve read describes California the way Eve Babitz can, except maybe Nathanael West: the dry weather, the heat, the lush sunsets, then the Hollywood obsessions, with money and love and appearance and work and drugs. Ostensibly fictional, her life in this book is a series of encounters with ordinary people who somehow appear extraordinary because of their surroundings, at Chateau ...more
Christopher McQuain
May 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Babitz's irretrievably worldly but never jaded lens renders her subjects (the world of L.A. -- in her hands, it IS its own world, absolutely replete with its own particular, evasive heavens, hells, symbols, and mores) both hilarious and deeply, wistfully mournful, with punctiliously perceptive prose that seems to encompass everything without breaking a sweat, and a sensibility that marries Joan Didion and Oscar Wilde.
Jul 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although it was written more than 40 years ago it feels very modern. Anyone who lives in Southern California can relate to the uniquely Californian adventurous of the heroine from Palm Springs, Laguna Beach and driving the grapevine through to Bakersfield. Love that old California feel that you can go out for the night and anything was possible.
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
i love how in books about la the way that characters look makes other characters have deep metaphysical ruminations. I love how in books about la it's all love and hate and live and die and nothing in between. i like how in this book there's a story about how the santa ana winds make you gay -- or at least gayer.
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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
“. . I wonder if I’ll ever be able to have what I like or if my tastes are too various to be sustained by one of anything.” 9 likes
“Women want to be loved like roses. They spend hours perfecting their eyebrows and toes and inventing irresistible curls that fall by accident down the back of their necks from otherwise austere hair-dos. They want their lover to remember the way they held a glass. They want to haunt.” 7 likes
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