Skip to Content

Best of the news
from abroad

Arriving at
6:00 AM

September 21 2019
Back to the issue
New York Review Books collects a series of Eve Babitz’s essays in a book to be published next month. A previously unpublished essay provides the title for the collection.

Here’s what you would have witnessed if you happened to be standing outside the Raymond restaurant in Pasadena on April 13, 1997: A ’68 VW Bug comes to a stop, a woman flies out, skirt aflame. She drops to the ground by the side of the road, rolls on the grass, setting the grass along the side of the road on fire, and then against the green bushes, setting those on fire too. “Oh no, oh no!” is all she can manage. That woman was me.

In fact, about 30 feet away, a poor Sunday-brunch couple getting out of their car did see the whole thing. They stopped in their tracks and watched as my skirt burned off, as my skin turned to char. “Can we do anything to help—?”

Back to the issue