Author(s): Eve Babitz
"The entirety ofSex 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 1979, about a dreamy young girl moving between the planets of Los Angeles and New York City.
We first meet Jacaranda in Los Angeles. She's a beach bum, a part-time painter of surfboards, sun-kissed and beautiful. Jacaranda has an on-again, off-again relationship with a married man and glitters among the city's pretty creatures, blithely drinking Pink Ladies with any number of tycoons, unattached and unworried in the pleasurable mania of California. Yet she lacks a purpose--so at twenty-eight, jobless, she moves to New York to start a new life and career, eager to make it big in the world of New York City.
Sex and Rage delights in its sensuous, dreamlike narrative and its spontaneous embrace of fate, and work, and of certain meetings and chances. Jacaranda moves beyond the tango of sex and rage into the open challenge of a defined and more fulfilling expressive life. Sex and Rage further solidifies Eve Babitz's place as a singularly important voice in Los Angeles literature--haunting, alluring, and alive.
Praise for Sex and Rage Bellatrist Book Club Pick for July 2017 Chosen as a staff pick by The Paris Review Chosen as 1 of 12 Great New Books to Bring to the Beach This Summer by The Huffington Post Chosen as 1 of 9 Books to Read This Summer by W and Elle Chosen as 1 of 10 Titles to Pick Up Now by O Magazine Chosen as 1 of 6 Smarter--But Not Quite Guilt-Free--Beach Reads by VICE "This novel is studded with sharp observations . . . Babitz's talent for the brilliant line, honed to a point, never interferes with her feel for languid pleasures." --The New York Times Book Review "On the page, Babitz is pure pleasure--a perpetual-motion machine of no-stakes elation and champagne fizz . . . A mesmerizing account of a young woman trying to decide what to do about her own premonitions." --The New Yorker "As a young girl growing up in Los Angeles, I spent a lot of time and energy trying to figure out who I was. I think this is true for young women growing up in most places--and it is for this reason that we chose Sex and Rage by the legendary Eve Babitz as our July @belletrist book pick. Babitz's heroine, Jacaranda, speaks volumes to the messiness and mistakes that mark adolescence. I can't wait for you guys to read her story." --Emma Roberts, actress and cofounder of Belletrist Book Club "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 rede em the SoCal lifestyle." --The Paris Review (staff pick) "Sex and Rage reveals a more self-conscious Eve Babitz . . . Sometimes an author transcends the line between writer and work, emblematizing an era, such as how one can walk into the Library Bar downtown and order a Hemingway Daiquiri, why there is an Amazon series about Zelda and F. Scott, or the phenomenon of lugging one's books in a tote emblazoned with an image of Joan Didion holding a cigarette and looking delightfully contemptuous. Babitz too has become larger than her oeuvre, a sort of colophon of her own work. Babitz's iconic status is why Jacaranda is such a fascinating character. She signals Babitz's fear of time passing, of being an almost former it-girl. Similar to its author, Babitz's writing is also like the jacaranda tree in glorious bloom--bewitching an entire city, but all too brief." --Los Angeles Review of Books "Sex and Rage is less controlled, and in my view, a more interesting work from Babitz. Jacaranda shares some of her biographical markers but not all of them, giving her room to experiment. And though the book is plotless, told in vignettes, and this will bedevil some readers, there is something about its portrait of an It Girl on the verge of a nervous breakdown that softens and opens the type." --Los Angeles Times "There's been much ado lately about autofiction and the strengths of the storytelling form made popular by Karl Ove Knausgaard and his ilk. But Eve Babitz's stories, published in the '70s, draw heavily enough from her own life that reading her work feels like reading a deliberately crafted diaryÃ¢ in the best way. Sex and Rage, her 1979 novel republished this summer, is, like much of Babitz's work, about a heroine waffling between her love for L.A. and the listlessness that the city inspires." Ã¢ The Huffington Post, 1 of 12 Great New Books to Bring to the Beach This Summer "The liveliness of her portraits and plates-in-the-air precariousness of her storytelling reach through the decades to entertain a completely new audience. Now, Counterpoint Press has resurrected the deliciously titled 1979 bildungsroman Sex and Rage. (Who would have thought that pairing would still be so sharply resonant?) Babitz may be something of a recluse now . . . but the fact that her work has only recently resurfaced is still something of a literary crime . . . The ultimate effect of this Angeleno's writing is to cast her beloved, glamorous town in the main role. And what a performance it is." --Elle Magazine "In language that coils and surprises . . . this reissued fiction classic shimmers like a Santa Monica sunset." --O Magazine, 1 of 10 Titles to Pick Up Now "Sex and Rage is a the portrait of the artist as an ever-evolving young woman." --W Magazine, 1 of 9 Books to Read This Summer "If you're not desperate to read this book based on the title, I don't know what to tell you." --Elle Magazine, 1 of 19 Books to Read This Summer "[A] kicky kunstlerroman . . . Even when cataloging ruinous behavior, particularly her heroine's, Babitz never loses her buoyancy, her archness." --The Village Voice "Counterpoint has just republished Sex and Rage, which seems a wise move as the story still feels modern . . . Sex and Rage is most interesting for its early and astute portrayal of a horribly familiar, hopefully transformative late-twenties crisis." --VICE, 1 of Six Smarter--But Not Quite Guilt-Free--Beach Reads "It is the story, really, of one's 20s . . . wherein the clashes of reality and desire can lead to spectacular and terrifying confrontations with the chasm that divides them." --The Millions "Sex and Rage is a great read for anyone currently in their 20s or anyone who can identify with the feeling of being unsure of what's next. (So, all of us?)" --HelloGiggles "If you love Eve, this book feels gently revolutionary in showing the artist at her most vulnerable." --The Hairpin "Because Babitz is contemporaneous with Didion, the two women are often compared to one another . . . Babitz's closest peer--or perhaps her heiress--is Francesca Lia Block . . . Their writing is much like L.A. at its best: alluringly sexy but also heartbreakingly unpredictable, beautiful but indifferent to what you want from it." --The New Republic "Babitz was living proof that rock-and-roll decadence also could be elegant and that muses could be the sharpest tacks in the room. Her writing was so lush and so arch--so sexy and so smart--that she made you believe lush and arch were not mutually exclusive . . . Only Eve could inspire you to buy seven caftans and all the ingredients of a tequila sunrise after reading only ten pages of her books. (Cocaine and caviar were optional.)" --Signature Reads "First published in 1979 and now back in print with Counterpoint, California queen Eve Babitz's Sex and Rage is a witty, unconventional coming-of-age story of surprising depth and pleasure . . . The book's warmth radiates from her wit and charm, as well as moments when young women recognize and affirm each other. Sex and Rage is a romp with substance--just beyond the descriptions of drinks and parties and devastating one-liners is a sweet story of a bright but messy young woman, making her own way. Nearly forty years after Sex and Rage's initial publication, Jacaranda's candid combination of moxie and sophistication feels fresh as a new generation of their private and public lives." --The Riveter Magazine Praise for Eve's Hollywood One of Flavorwire's 33 Must-Read Books for Fall 2015 "Sharp and funny throughout, she offers an almost cinematic portrait of Los Angeles: gritty, glamorous, toxic and intoxicating." --New York Times "Eve's Hollywood has become a classic of L.A. life. The names in the dedication, Jim Morrison, David Geffen, Andy Warhol, Stephen Stills, and more, indicate the era and depth of this important book." --Steve Martin "Eve's Hollywood is less a straightforward story or tell-all than a sure-footed collection of elliptical yet incisive vignettes and essays about love, longing, beauty, sex, friendship, art, artifice, and above all, Los Angeles. . . . Reading West (and Fante and Chandler and Cain and the like) made me want to go to Los Angeles. Babitz makes me feel like I'm there." -- Deborah Shapiro, The Second Pass "Eve Babitz is to prose what Chet Baker, with his light, airy style, lyrical but also rhythmic, detached but also sensuous, is to jazz, or what Larry Bell, with his glass confections, the lines so clean and fresh and buoyant, is to sculpture. She's a natural. Or gives every appearance of being one, her writing elevated yet slangy, bright, bouncy, cheerfully hedonistic--L.A. in it purest, most idealized form." --Lili Anolik, Vanity Fair "Sharp and funny throughout, [Babitz] offers an almost cinematic portrait of Los Angeles: gritty, glamorous, toxic and intoxicating." --New York Times "Her writing took multiple forms, from romans a clef to essayistic cultural commentaries to reviews to urban-life vignettes to short stories. But in the center was always Babitz and her sensibility--fun and hot and smart, a Henry James-loving party girl. . . The joy of Babitz's writing is in her ability to suggest that an experience is very nearly out of language while still articulating its force within it." --New Republic "Eve Babitz has a provocative and sassy voice, and an intelligent one too. She can seem self-involved but seduces us with her originality. . . Babitz writes about California and particularly Los Angeles the way Woody Allen writes about New York. She is crazy about it; all of it." --Jewish Journal "Her voice on the page is no less mesmerizing than her presence in a room. . . The singular spectrum of her adventures, her friends, and her tastes reveal themselves in her unconventional and delightful dedication page(s)." --Nicole Jones, Vanity Fair "Eve Babitz, whose autobiographical vignettes of LA had an easygoing Mediterranean warmth and acceptance (she didn't billboard over the dark side of LA and Hollywood, she just didn't elevate it into a noir nihilism) that was the antithesis of Joan Didion's desert vision of bleached bones beneath numbed nerves. The pleasure principle still prevailed in Eve's writing, whatever the setbacks and heartbreaks." --James Wolcott, Vanity Fair "Her voice manages to be both serious and happy, with a run-on syntax that feels like a friend on her second glass of wine. Relentlessly unsentimental, she sees people for who they are, regardless of who she wants them to be...In Eve's Hollywood, she writes with the aching immediacy of adolescence and the wide-angle perspective of a woman much older -- and she's only in her 20s." --Holly Brubach, The New York Times "What truly sets Babitz apart from L.A. writers like Didion or Nathanael West [...] is that no matter what cruel realities she might face, a part of her still buys the Hollywood fantasy, feels its magnetic pull as much as that Midwestern hopeful who heads to the coast in pursuit of 'movie dreams.'" --Steffie Nelson, L.A. Review of Books "Eve Babitz is a little like Madame de Sevigne, that inveterate letter-writer of Louis XIV's time, transposed to the Chateau Marmont in the late 20th-Century--lunching, chatting, dressing, loving and crying in Hollywood, that latter-day Versailles." --Mollie Gregory, L.A. Times "As the cynosure of the counterculture, Eve Babitz knew everybody worth knowing; slept with everybody worth sleeping with and better still, made herself felt in every encounter." --Daniel Bernardi, PopMatters "Her romp through '70s L.A. winkingly fulfills the promises of pleasure and delight so often scorched to nil by writers like Joan Didion." --Ian Epstein, Vulture
EVE BABITZ is the author of several books of fiction, including Eve's Hollywood; Slow Days, Fast Company: The World, The Flesh, and L.A.; and Black Swans: Stories. Her nonfiction works include Fiorucci, The Book and Two by Two: Tango, Two-Step, and the L.A. Night. She has written for publications including Ms. and Esquire and in the late 1960s designed album covers for the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, and Linda Ronstadt.