This is a kind of omnibus collection of nonfiction, personal essays, analysis, interviews, and odds and ends from Eve Babitz famous for being a novelist and fiction writer, for playing chess with Marcel Duchamps while naked, and for being associated with a host of different people throughout the 60s and 70s.
I have read two of her fictional works and I liked them just fine, but I really like this collection. It’s weird and free-wheeling in some great ways. There’s a bunch of really wonderful interviews with people like Nicholas Cage and James Woods–of whom Eve Babitz says something like “He’s so gross; he’s like the one eighth grade boy who knows about sex”. She also writes a brilliant essay about Jim Morrison years after his death where she takes all the mystery, bravado, weird California stuff, about him and his music and reduces it down to him being a former fat kid terrified of being fat again–a feeling I know pretty well.
The title essays comes from a pretty horrifying injury she sustained in her fifties (in the late 90s) where she accidentally set herself on fire with a cigar at a restaurant and received third degree burns over large portions of her body and led her to removing herself from the public eye.
This book comes on the tale end of her resurgence in the literary world, a very good thing, but it also came with her being stalked into public in a very hacky and frustrating way.