‘Slow Days, Fast Company’ by Eve Babitz – The World, The Flesh, and L.A.

 

‘Slow Days, Fast Company’ by Eve Babitz   (1977) – 178 pages

 

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New York Review Books (NYRB Classics) is issuing a new version of the 1977 fiction ‘Slow Days, Fast Company’ by Eve Babitz in August of this year, so I decided to be uncharacteristically ahead of the curve this time in reading and writing about it.  This book is described as a series of fictional memoirs, which I suppose means that the events described within actually happened, but that the names have been changed to protect the guilty.  And guilty these characters would probably be considering some of their behavior.  There are threesomes, there are women going back and forth between guys and gals, and men going back and forth between gals and guys.  This is Hollywood in the 1970s, and Eve Babitz was on the front lines of it all.   But this book is not mainly about sex; it is about enjoying wild and wicked times in Los Angeles.

Eve Basbitz started out in the art world.  When she was nineteen in 1963, an iconic picture of her was taken with Eve playing chess in the nude with renowned Dada artist Marcel Duchamp.  You can easily find this picture puppy now via any image search engine.  In the Sixties she designed album covers for such music acts as the Byrds and Buffalo Springfield.   Babitz took the picture of Linda Ronstadt that appears on the cover of the ‘’Heart Like A Wheel’ album.  As well as these music acts out in Laurel Canyon, Babitz met a lot of the set designers working on Hollywood movies.

As NYRB has discovered, Eve Babitz had a talent for writing.  She was “a frivolous young woman prone to adventure.”  Her earlier memoir ‘Eve’s Hollywood’ which I also have read was also republished by NYRB.

A lot of ‘Fast Days, Slow Company’ has to do with the quandary of male/female relationships.

“I’ve often noticed that there is a moment when a man develops enough confidence and ease in a relationship to bore you to death.  Sometimes one hardly even notices it’s happened, that moment, until some careless remark arouses one’s suspicions.  I have found that what usually brings this lethargy on is if the woman displays some special kindness.  Like making dinner.”

This is lively effervescent writing.  Since it is a series of scattered fictional memoirs, the book lacks the coherence of a single novel.  However I believe it gives a good overall picture of what life must have been like in the middle 1970s in Los Angeles for the fast crowd, for the art and movie and music types.

 

Grade:    B 

 

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