With the timely reissues of cult novels like Black Swans and Sex and Rage: Advice to Young Ladies Eager for a Good Time, Eve Babitz has reached a new generation of readers that have lovingly embraced this iconic L.A. author and who find themselves clamoring for more long before they have reached the conclusion of each of Babitz’s books, as LA Weekly reports.
Born in Hollywood in 1943 to an artist mother and a father who was a classical musician working with 20th Century Fox, Eve Babitz could count Igor Stravinsky, the legendary composer of The Rite of Spring, as her godfather.
She was also just 20 years of age when she was photographed nude and seated directly across from Marcel Duchamp while the two engaged in a game of chess, in a heady piece of art that has since graced living rooms and art galleries around the world.
After suggesting to her mother that she should perhaps become an adventuress, Babitz embarked on the sort of life that was perfectly suited for her future writing career, something that her agent Erica Spellman Silverman picked up on instantly after she first encountered Eve in the 1970s.
As Spellman Silverman recalls, while Babitz wasn’t quite certain yet just what she would be writing, it was nevertheless agreed that this adventuress was also a born novelist and that Spellman Silverman was to be her future agent, according to Vanity Fair.
“She was a little bit scared of me, and I was a little bit scared of her, and we kind of did this dance, trying to prove ourselves. But we got through all that, and I said, ‘Well, O.K., I want to be your agent.’ And she said, ‘O.K., but I don’t know what I’m writing.'”
More than anything else, Eve Babitz tells the story of life in Los Angeles, beginning her tales at time when, as she noted, many considered L.A. to be nothing but a “wasteland,” with real life only happening in places like New York and London rather than the slow-moving City of Angels.
But Eve Babitz understood the wonder of L.A. and cast her gaze at the beauty she saw around her, even giving the heroine in her novel Sex and Rage the name of the beautifully flowering Spring tree Jacaranda, a woman who knew even at a young age that where she grew up in Santa Monica was clearly more potent and mystical than any Biblical paradise could ever be.
“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.”
And in Slow Days, Fast Company: The World, The Flesh, and L.A., Babitz vividly conjures up the bracing Santa Ana winds which threw so many people into a frenzy and seemed to invoke madness in some.
“From earliest childhood, I have rejoiced over the Santa Ana winds. I know those winds the way the Eskimos know their snows.”
Eve Babitz’s novels are once again having a massive resurgence, with readers all over the world bemoaning the fact that her books must eventually reach their inevitable conclusions, with agent Spellman Silverman noting that financially things are looking decidedly up for the author.
“She’s making a lot more money than she ever made. The books are being sold in many languages, which didn’t happen before—this is so amazing for her. It’s so exciting to even have those two words together: ‘Eve’s legacy.'”
According to her agent, Babitz is apparently delighted at her legions of new fans.
“It means everything to me. I feel incredibly lucky to have this new and growing audience both here and abroad. I never imagined this and am so happy about it. I love people knowing about my Los Angeles!”
If you have also found yourself enchanted with Eve Babitz’s novels and yearn for more of the author’s world, Hulu now has the rights to L.A. Woman and will be turning it into a comedy, bringing the world of Babitz before a whole new television audience, something Jacaranda would surely have approved of.