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Sex and Rage

List Price: $16.95

July 11, 2017 | Paperback | 6 x 9, 240 pages | ISBN 9781619029354
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A”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

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, a beach bum, part-time painter of surfboards, sun-kissed and beautiful, semi-involved with a married man, glittering among the pretty creatures, blithely drinking Pink Ladies with any number of tycoons, unattached and unworried in the pleasurable mania of California. We follow her as she rises from the mists to the discovery that she’s twenty-eight, jobless, with no sense of purpose; that her wild friendships with Gilbert and Max and Etienne might not be as real as they seem. So she pries herself away from this immensely seductive place and moves to New York, to seriousness and work, to meet the agents of her new world.

Sex and Rage delights in its starry, sensuous, dreamlike narrative and its spontaneous embrace of fate, and work, and of certain meetings and chances. We witness Jacaranda moving 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.

EVE BABITZ is the author of several books of fiction, including Eve’s Hollywood, Slow Days, Fast Company, L.A. Woman, 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.

Praise


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 diary―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.” ―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

“An orgy of period details and kicky pleasures.” —Vogue.com

“[A] kicky künstlerroman . . . 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

“[An] ideal Summer read. It’s escapist but witty, entertaining but introspective.” —PopSugar

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