I Used to Be Charming: The Rest of Eve Babitz

Eve Babitz. NYRB Classics, $18.95 trade paper (448p) ISBN 978-1-68137-379-9
Novelist and journalist Babitz’s one-of-a-kind voice and sharp, observational eye make for a singular, often exhilarating, ride in this assemblage of her articles from the 1970s through the ’90s. Their through line is provided by Babitz’s clear-eyed but loving evocation of her native city, Los Angeles. It’s filled with a starry cast of characters, including Glenn Frey, Jim Morrison, and Linda Ronstadt, and with alternately glamorous and gritty locales, from the famous Troubadour club to a diner seemingly unchanged since the ’30s, which is “sort of the only place in L.A. you can go without accidentally bumping into an alfalfa sprout.” Else-where, she comically but cannily discusses the “physical insanity” of the exercise craze she partakes in, wryly muses on the relations of men to her large breasts (“no man has ever made a serious pass at me without assuring me he was a leg man”), and analyzes the joys of ballroom dancing. In one particularly memorable essay, she recounts how she ended up in the famous photograph of Marcel Duchamp playing chess with a naked young woman. And despite the title’s implication, Babitz’s writing remains, in fact, charming, as well as funny and insightful, throughout this fabulous collection. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 08/12/2019
Release date: 10/01/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 978-1-68137-380-5
Compact Disc - 978-1-79970-856-8
MP3 CD - 978-1-79970-857-5
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