Hollywood's Eve (Nonfiction)

Publisher -- Simon & Schuster: Scribner

Release Date -- January 8, 2019


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

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. She was a sun-kissed Edie Sedgwick.

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. 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. And yet, during her career, Babitz was under-known and under-read. She’s since experienced a breakthrough, and is now, twenty years after her last published work, on the cusp of literary stardom, and recognition as a, as the, essential L.A. writer.

For Babitz, life was slow days, fast company until a freak fire in the 90s turned her into a recluse, living 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.

Product Details

  • ISBN 13: 9781501125799

  • ISBN 10: 1501125796

  • Imprint: Scribner



Critical Praise for Hollywood’s Eve

We love Eve Babitz because she was insatiable, and because she makes us feel insatiable in return. I practically snorted this book, stayed up all night with it. But Lili Anolik also brings us through the comedown, the previously unseen conclusions — she decodes, ruptures, and ultimately intensifies Eve’s singular irresistible glitz.
— Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker
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 and therefore she is the perfect biographer of another true original, Eve Babitz, the ‘it’ girl of the sun-baked noir of Hollywood in the 60s and 70s.
— Graydon Carter
Lili Anolik’s Hollywood’s Eve: Eve Babitz and the Secret History of L.A. may be the first injectable biography—it delivers a sustained rush and a complicated payload of gossip, insight, comedy, catastrophe, ‘squalid overboogie,’ and rock god/movie star lore. Exploring the life, countless loves, and literary luminance of a muse, artist, and all-around babe who went from L.A. scene maker to near-total recluse, Hollywood’s Eve is as fizzy and one-of-a-kind as its heroine. It’ll leave you pleasurably dazed.
— James Wolcott, Vanity Fair columnist and author of Lucking Out
A fascinating work of journalism... I haven’t stopped thinking about the hazy, drug-fueled soirées for Hollywood’s elite that [Eve] Babitz frequented... It’s a tale of glitzy grime and grimy glitz that won’t fail to keep you entertained.
— The Atlantic
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
Normally, journalists aren’t the story—and shouldn’t let themselves become so. And yet, in this case, it works. That could be for a few reasons. For one, Anolik is transparent in her fascination with Babitz, and learning about her reporting journey (or battle, at times) is just as engrossing as parts of Babitz’s own wild history... But Anolik, as a devoted fan but responsible biographer in this unique case study, stays true to her subject as Babitz is always the sun around which everyone else in L.A. revolves—at least in this retelling.
— Fortune
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
In Hollywood’s Eve, an extraordinarily felicitous meeting of subject and biographer, Lili Anolik truly gets Eve Babitz: her canny deadpan wit, her refreshingly guilt-free acceptance of appetite in all its forms, her profound and wise instinctiveness about people, and her delectable prose conjurings of L.A.’s unsung treasures and pleasures. 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
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
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
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
Just as Babitz introduced her slender 1977 masterpiece Slow Days, Fast Company as an effort to seduce not the reader but a disinterested boyfriend, so Anolik announces this book as her own wayward, digressive romance. The breeziness is a feint: Anolik spent years on research, working meticulously to fill in the blanks where Babitz or her compadres had been too drunk to remember…Anolik’s fantasy Eve reflects Babitz’s brilliance at self-presentation.
— Harper’s Magazine
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
[A] smart, fast-paced meditation on Babitz … Anolik sees her as ruthless, unencumbered, unapologetic. In other words, an artist.
— BookPage
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
Anolik’s book brings a ludicrously glamorous scene back to life, adding a few shadows along the way to give Babitz’s sun-bleached biography more nuanced contours.
— Vogue
Fills in many of the gaps in our knowledge of Babitz’s life and work...What Hollywood’s Eve has going for it on every page is its subject’s utter refusal to be dull… It sends you racing to read the work of Eve Babitz.
— Dwight Garner, The New York Times
Vital and clarifying….wonderful.
From Joan Didion to Harrison Ford to Steve Martin, the book is chockablock with stories both salacious and soulful, exactly the kind of poetically enticing account (with just the right amount of tawdry) Babitz herself delivered so sharply.
— The AV Club
There’s no doubt that Anolik is daffy for Babitz but she is also clear-eyed in her critical assessment and paints a portrait that is beyond smitten, always smart, and an awful lot of fun.
— Esquire
An intimate biography of a glamorous writer and a portrait of the city she called her playground.
— Town & Country
A dishy, splashy biography filled with more celebrity cameos than a table at the Polo Lounge.
— Entertainment Weekly
Fascinating…it’s impossible not to be infatuated.
— Oprah Magazine
Anolik has expanded her magazine piece into a book of her own, calling it ‘a biography in the non-traditional sense.’ But Hollywood’s Eve is richer and stranger than that.
— The Wall Street Journal
Lili Anolik delves into the mysterious life of Eve Babitz in this revealing, anecdote-packed biography.
— InStyle