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Slow Days, Fast Company: The World, The Flesh, and L.A. (New York Review Books Classics)

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Eve Babitz captured the voluptuous quality of L.A. in the 1960s in a wildly original, totally unique voice. These stories are time capsule gems, as poignant and startling today as they were when published in the early 1970s. Eve Babitz is not well known today, but she should be. Her first hand experiences in the L.A. cultural scene, translated into haunting fiction, are an Eve Babitz captured the voluptuous quality of L.A. in the 1960s in a wildly original, totally unique voice. These stories are time capsule gems, as poignant and startling today as they were when published in the early 1970s. Eve Babitz is not well known today, but she should be. Her first hand experiences in the L.A. cultural scene, translated into haunting fiction, are an unforgettable glimpse at a lost world and a magical time.


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Eve Babitz captured the voluptuous quality of L.A. in the 1960s in a wildly original, totally unique voice. These stories are time capsule gems, as poignant and startling today as they were when published in the early 1970s. Eve Babitz is not well known today, but she should be. Her first hand experiences in the L.A. cultural scene, translated into haunting fiction, are an Eve Babitz captured the voluptuous quality of L.A. in the 1960s in a wildly original, totally unique voice. These stories are time capsule gems, as poignant and startling today as they were when published in the early 1970s. Eve Babitz is not well known today, but she should be. Her first hand experiences in the L.A. cultural scene, translated into haunting fiction, are an unforgettable glimpse at a lost world and a magical time.

30 review for Slow Days, Fast Company: The World, The Flesh, and L.A. (New York Review Books Classics)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    In the 1960s and 1970s, when I used to dread the approach of another lonely weekend, I wished I could meet a girl like Eve Babitz, intelligent, articulate, and drop-dead beautiful. And there she was, living just a few miles from me in Hollywood while I was in Santa Monica. Describing a friend of hers, "she lacked that element, raw and beckoning, that trailed like a vapor" behind her. Like her first book, Eve's Hollywood, Slow Days, Fast Company: The World, The Flesh, and L.A. is a series of seemi In the 1960s and 1970s, when I used to dread the approach of another lonely weekend, I wished I could meet a girl like Eve Babitz, intelligent, articulate, and drop-dead beautiful. And there she was, living just a few miles from me in Hollywood while I was in Santa Monica. Describing a friend of hers, "she lacked that element, raw and beckoning, that trailed like a vapor" behind her. Like her first book, Eve's Hollywood, Slow Days, Fast Company: The World, The Flesh, and L.A. is a series of seemingly biographical essays with an admixture of fiction. Where the first book talked about Eve's teeny-bopper years in the 1960s, in her second she becomes the lovely, knowing score girl that everyone wants to meet ... and bed. She hung out with the likes of Jim Morrison, Steve Martin, artist Ed Ruscha, and gallery owner Walter Hopps. What she writes about in Slow Days, Fast Company is about her friendships and relationships with people who are usually not identified with their last names; and even their first names could have been modified. In the end, it doesn't matter a bit. Eve knows success, and how it twists people so they becoming boring "celebrities" who rely on drugs and booze to get through the day. She writes;But everyone knows that it would have been much better to have been popular in high school when your blood was clean, and pure lust and kisses lasted forever, Chocolate Cokes in high school are better than caviar on a yacht when you're forty-five. It's common knowledge.Eve Babitz knew herself far better than most people, and she had a wicked sense of humor, as in this exchange:The very next night I was having dinner with this fashionable young rich man who looked at me as I smoothed some paté over some toast and said, "You better watch out with that stuff. It'll make you fat." "Well, gee," I said to him, "there are so many perfect women, it's just horrible you have to spend time sitting here with me."Horrible indeed! No use being morose about it, however. Even if I never found an Eve Babitz, I can appreciate her discriminating mind even at this distant remove. This is a girl who did not believe in the viability of most relationships: "The real truth is that I've never known any man-woman thing to pan out (it may pan out to them, of course, but couples in middle age who don't speak to each other are not my idea of a good movie.)" Eve Babitz in her time and place -- Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s -- was as good as they come. She is in many ways the best that Los Angeles has to offer. If you read her books, I think you will understand why.

  2. 4 out of 5

    leah

    i’ve always been interested in reading some eve babitz, especially as she’s widely compared to (and often noted as the antithesis to) joan didion, and i’m so glad i picked this one up because i ended up loving it! ‘slow days, fast company’ is essentially a biographical essay collection all about babitz’s life in 1960s-70s los angeles. babitz is the perfect 70s la party girl, detailing her days spent running around la, bumping into the famous or the almost-famous. although she very clearly loves i’ve always been interested in reading some eve babitz, especially as she’s widely compared to (and often noted as the antithesis to) joan didion, and i’m so glad i picked this one up because i ended up loving it! ‘slow days, fast company’ is essentially a biographical essay collection all about babitz’s life in 1960s-70s los angeles. babitz is the perfect 70s la party girl, detailing her days spent running around la, bumping into the famous or the almost-famous. although she very clearly loves la, her observations about the city and its culture are saturated with her quick-wit and dry humour, and i found myself wishing my copy wasn’t a library book so i could underline all the parts that made me laugh. her writing is so easygoing and gossipy that it just feels like one of your friends is catching you up on their latest escapades. her descriptions of la are so vivid and atmospheric that it makes you nostalgic for a time and place (in my case) you’ve never been. if any book was going to convince me to sacrifice free healthcare and move to america, it’d be this one (along with just kids by patti smith because i can’t decide between new york or la)

  3. 4 out of 5

    emma

    treat people with kindness. you never know what they're going through. for example, every day i have to resist the urge to buy every book in this edition treat people with kindness. you never know what they're going through. for example, every day i have to resist the urge to buy every book in this edition

  4. 5 out of 5

    Peter Landau

    For the last 15 years I’ve lived in Los Angeles. Now I want to get out. It’s a good time. We just sold our house and my wife completed her masters, plus she hates her job. There are the kids, but I didn’t ask them to be here. They just stuck around. Now they’re an anchor around our necks. Why can’t we just pull up stakes and move this circus elsewhere? I know, I know, better than most. My parents relocated from New York City to the suburbs when I was eight and I’ve only just come to terms with t For the last 15 years I’ve lived in Los Angeles. Now I want to get out. It’s a good time. We just sold our house and my wife completed her masters, plus she hates her job. There are the kids, but I didn’t ask them to be here. They just stuck around. Now they’re an anchor around our necks. Why can’t we just pull up stakes and move this circus elsewhere? I know, I know, better than most. My parents relocated from New York City to the suburbs when I was eight and I’ve only just come to terms with the move. I’m 53 years old. I guess such experiences build character. Speaking of characters, Eve Babitz. She's the naked lady playing chess with Duchamp in that famous photograph, but that was only the beginning of her illustrious career. She’s a writer, and a very good one, who’s enjoyable company if a bit decadent. I found myself eagerly devouring her prose at the beginning and then getting a little sick to my stomach three-quarters in, but that’s my constitution, not her talent. What Babitz has done is rekindled my love for Los Angeles. I never hated the place like the cliched New York transplant. There’s as much culture here as anywhere, and the physical beauty is perfectly balanced by the banality of its freeways and strip malls. But the sun is oppressive and has the effect of following you everywhere with its burningly indifferent eye. I never doubted Los Angeles' vibrancy, but it’s a megacity and as such overwhelming and just as provincial as New York City. But there’s a poetry here, especially in its changing colors, a quality Babitz captures better than any other writer of Los Angeles I’ve read. As she moves about the city and into the desert to the ocean and parties in-between, her color commentary is funny and opinionated. I don’t always agree, but I wouldn’t turn down an invitation from her. The place she describes is crystal clear, but the time of SLOW DAYS, FAST COMPANY: THE WORLD, THE FLESH, AND L.A. is lost to history, embedded in the amber of her prose. The 1970s are long done except in the imagination of those who never lived then. They should step away from their keyboards and talk a walk around Los Angeles now. There’s a lot to see.

  5. 5 out of 5

    ana

    girlboss bohemian to crusty conservative pipeline

  6. 4 out of 5

    lou

    i was so excited, to read my first babitz, i had a lot of expectations, and this for sure didn't disappoint me. i loved the way she described Shawn and Mary, and it kind of made me fall in love with both of them, the descriptions were truly beautiful and i can't imagine how they felt when they read that and then being able to say that someone captured you the way Eve did. i didnt know how much i liked "gossip" kind of stories till i read this, i stayed late at night just to see what she had to s i was so excited, to read my first babitz, i had a lot of expectations, and this for sure didn't disappoint me. i loved the way she described Shawn and Mary, and it kind of made me fall in love with both of them, the descriptions were truly beautiful and i can't imagine how they felt when they read that and then being able to say that someone captured you the way Eve did. i didnt know how much i liked "gossip" kind of stories till i read this, i stayed late at night just to see what she had to say about a city that i never thought as interesting (it's just the us in general ngl) and people that i didn't really care. I'll for sure continue reading more about her since i loved the way she described things, like she was just trying to explain something to one of her friends, but, more eloquent of course. (4.5 but a 5 just because) sep 6 - sep 9

  7. 5 out of 5

    Nicky

    Well crafted short stories about life in 1960s-70s LaLa Land and the famous, semi-famous and wanna-be famous. So awesome that NYRB Classics has republished this collection as Eve Babitz was not just a Hollywood IT girl. These are sharp, witty and intelligent observations of her life and LA. “Women want to be loved like roses. They spend hours perfecting their eyebrows and toes and inventing irresistible curls that fall by accident down the back of their necks from otherwise austere hair-dos. They Well crafted short stories about life in 1960s-70s LaLa Land and the famous, semi-famous and wanna-be famous. So awesome that NYRB Classics has republished this collection as Eve Babitz was not just a Hollywood IT girl. These are sharp, witty and intelligent observations of her life and LA. “Women want to be loved like roses. They spend hours perfecting their eyebrows and toes and inventing irresistible curls that fall by accident down the back of their necks from otherwise austere hair-dos. They want their lover to remember the way they held a glass. They want to haunt.”

  8. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    It's easy to label Eve Babitz a "muse" of men who went on to become famous. Even the ubiquitously-mentioned photo of her with Famous Male Artist is held up as a symbol of her muse-ish-ness. But I am starting to suspect that calling women "muses" is a way to strip them of all of their teeth and agency: they become accessories rather than agents. And boy oh boy is Eve Babitz an agent: all teeth and light and fire. She knows how to turn a phrase. She is another face of the same God of Letters as Shi It's easy to label Eve Babitz a "muse" of men who went on to become famous. Even the ubiquitously-mentioned photo of her with Famous Male Artist is held up as a symbol of her muse-ish-ness. But I am starting to suspect that calling women "muses" is a way to strip them of all of their teeth and agency: they become accessories rather than agents. And boy oh boy is Eve Babitz an agent: all teeth and light and fire. She knows how to turn a phrase. She is another face of the same God of Letters as Shirley Jackson: knowing the perfect way to describe a hidden thing; knowing how to take a private life and make it deeply captivating; knowing how to express a certain sort of experience as a woman in the world that is revolutionary in its exposed intimacy. TL;DR: I liked the book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tosh

    A classic Southern California book of fiction, or is it a memoir of sorts? Eve Babitz is a combination of Marcel Proust and F.Scott Fitzgerald. Her observations of life in Los Angeles and slightly beyond that city, is razor-focused, and her mini-portraits of various friends and lovers are masterfully written. I mentioned Proust, because she has a knack for documenting her times. Perhaps even journalistic skills in capturing in a few strokes or words, a complicated personality. F Scott, because s A classic Southern California book of fiction, or is it a memoir of sorts? Eve Babitz is a combination of Marcel Proust and F.Scott Fitzgerald. Her observations of life in Los Angeles and slightly beyond that city, is razor-focused, and her mini-portraits of various friends and lovers are masterfully written. I mentioned Proust, because she has a knack for documenting her times. Perhaps even journalistic skills in capturing in a few strokes or words, a complicated personality. F Scott, because she writes about class - or the people in her world - which are artists, musicians, and they tend to be successful, yet they wander from one local (Southern California) location to the next. I read Eve's Hollywood, and liked it very much - but I feel "Slow Days,..." is a much better book. For those, who collect Los Angeles literature, this is pretty much of a must-have and must-read.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Chris Via

    Video review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVsWI... Video review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVsWI...

  11. 4 out of 5

    ilen

    babitz, the epitome of cool funny it girl

  12. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    Just finished re-read of new edition from the New York Review of Books. So glad this book is back in print. It has always been my favorite of hers. **************************** For anyone who loves L.A., Eve Babitz is more fun to read than any other local author about this crazy and unique environment we Angelenos occupy physically and psychologically, the reality and the mythology of it all. For me, she is the quintessential L.A. writer - the blog below says it best: "she gets it." http://litera Just finished re-read of new edition from the New York Review of Books. So glad this book is back in print. It has always been my favorite of hers. **************************** For anyone who loves L.A., Eve Babitz is more fun to read than any other local author about this crazy and unique environment we Angelenos occupy physically and psychologically, the reality and the mythology of it all. For me, she is the quintessential L.A. writer - the blog below says it best: "she gets it." http://literateinla.blogspot.com/2008... Now that I am in a mood for an Eve Babitz binge, I am distressed to learn her books are all out of print. There is no justice.

  13. 5 out of 5

    julieta

    I had never read Eve Babitz or even heard of her, but NYRB is always a sure way of getting to any author or work. I found this in an airport, and read it knowing I would find something good, but this is even better than I thought. I don't think I have many references of women authors writing about California this way, and with this combination of fiction and memoir sort of. This was a great surprise, she speaks of things that I love to hear about, love, sex, fame parties, but she's also just dam I had never read Eve Babitz or even heard of her, but NYRB is always a sure way of getting to any author or work. I found this in an airport, and read it knowing I would find something good, but this is even better than I thought. I don't think I have many references of women authors writing about California this way, and with this combination of fiction and memoir sort of. This was a great surprise, she speaks of things that I love to hear about, love, sex, fame parties, but she's also just damn smart and very likeable. Is that california? maybe, but I love her.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sonia

    this book was such a delight... babitz is the perfect breezy 70s LA hot girl, and her narration style is so light easygoing that you rly feel like you’re a sexy 20-something doing quaaludes and seducing men and having threesomes and then going home and sitting on your cute porch with some coffee the next morning. i also really loved reading about her love for LA, which i personally can’t imagine loving myself (esp contemporary LA), but i have plenty of nostalgia for the hot dry california summer this book was such a delight... babitz is the perfect breezy 70s LA hot girl, and her narration style is so light easygoing that you rly feel like you’re a sexy 20-something doing quaaludes and seducing men and having threesomes and then going home and sitting on your cute porch with some coffee the next morning. i also really loved reading about her love for LA, which i personally can’t imagine loving myself (esp contemporary LA), but i have plenty of nostalgia for the hot dry california summers of my childhood so it was lovely to read about. 10/10

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nicola

    Wonderful. I wasn't anticipating such lyrical prose, or such a good sense of her personality. A wee bit Didion, a touch of real-life Valley of the Dolls, I loved it. Wonderful. I wasn't anticipating such lyrical prose, or such a good sense of her personality. A wee bit Didion, a touch of real-life Valley of the Dolls, I loved it.

  16. 4 out of 5

    ✿ sofia ♡

    Can I be her? Please and thank you. ~ 4.5/5 ⭐️ Eve Babitz definitely lives up to the hype. I loved her writing and vivid descriptions of 1960s and 1970s California. I found myself underlining lots of sentences and short phrases that stuck with me, and I can see myself rereading this often when I'm nostalgic for a time I wasn't even alive in. Can I be her? Please and thank you. ~ 4.5/5 ⭐️ Eve Babitz definitely lives up to the hype. I loved her writing and vivid descriptions of 1960s and 1970s California. I found myself underlining lots of sentences and short phrases that stuck with me, and I can see myself rereading this often when I'm nostalgic for a time I wasn't even alive in.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ebony (EKG)

    Eve Babitz is a true hot girl

  18. 5 out of 5

    Richard S

    This is kind of book you know you're going to pick up and read in a day, although it took two days here, mostly because the essays at the beginning were only just kind of interesting in a generic kind of way - it's only later in the book, where Babitz gets into her rich psychological writing, that she really shines. The descriptions of L.A. are great, but many of these essays are actually about other places - Bakersfield, Laguna, Palm Springs, and she captures the feel of these other places as we This is kind of book you know you're going to pick up and read in a day, although it took two days here, mostly because the essays at the beginning were only just kind of interesting in a generic kind of way - it's only later in the book, where Babitz gets into her rich psychological writing, that she really shines. The descriptions of L.A. are great, but many of these essays are actually about other places - Bakersfield, Laguna, Palm Springs, and she captures the feel of these other places as well through her excellent prose. But where she shines best, to me anyway is in "Bad Day at Palm Springs", in her extraordinary insight not only into the personalities and psychologies of others, but herself. And not that she's particularly likeable, although she is, but she has a way of describing people and getting at their very root. Also, her astonishing descriptions of the house in "Palm Springs" - its white walls, white everything, struck me as maybe the best I've ever read. There's a lot more humanity here than in Didion, who can be fantastically nihilistic and cruel, here Babitz seems to be really loving life, throughout these stories there's a sense of happiness, that really buoys the narrative. I don't detect cynicism, just reporting, with a slice of comic irony. She really comes across as kind of the ultimate person you'd want to hang out with because of this general positivity in a world which seems rather bleak at times. You feel like her friends spend time with her just because she's "real" in a sense, and incredibly funny. Recommended to all and especially all who love L.A., those who like these kinds of essays, and generally high quality writing.

  19. 5 out of 5

    sarah

    4.5 eve babitz fully emulates and portrays her 'it' girl persona in this book while showing everyone why it was her brain and heart that charmed people into orbiting around her "I mean, look at me, the only thing one can think about me is sex." Eve says about herself and I wouldn't belittle her allure to that one thing. Sure, she was beautiful and one to leave an indelible mark on the men she encountered, but from her ability to put words together, the way her mind works, the way she's able to p 4.5 eve babitz fully emulates and portrays her 'it' girl persona in this book while showing everyone why it was her brain and heart that charmed people into orbiting around her "I mean, look at me, the only thing one can think about me is sex." Eve says about herself and I wouldn't belittle her allure to that one thing. Sure, she was beautiful and one to leave an indelible mark on the men she encountered, but from her ability to put words together, the way her mind works, the way she's able to personify the city of los angeles in a way no one else has been able to, she shows the depth of her soul and her wit. she made L.A. the center of her world and gave it its own flesh.

  20. 5 out of 5

    aitana ☾

    i really don’t know what to say, no one is doing it like Eve Babitz

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lauralai

    This was my first Eve Babitz book and I’m definitely going to read more! What a cool chick she was ✨

  22. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    Reading this is like listening to a sharp, witty friend with good vibes telling you stories about her life. Plus, it’s set in places all over Southern California that I went to growing up, so the Southern California girl in me absolutely loved that. Looking forward to reading more of Eve’s books. ”I did not become famous but I got near enough to smell the stench of success. It smelt like burnt cloth and rancid gardenias, and I realized that the truly awful thing about success is that it’s held up Reading this is like listening to a sharp, witty friend with good vibes telling you stories about her life. Plus, it’s set in places all over Southern California that I went to growing up, so the Southern California girl in me absolutely loved that. Looking forward to reading more of Eve’s books. ”I did not become famous but I got near enough to smell the stench of success. It smelt like burnt cloth and rancid gardenias, and I realized that the truly awful thing about success is that it’s held up all those years as the thing that would make everything all right. And the only thing that makes things even slightly bearable is a friend who knows what you’re talking about.”

  23. 4 out of 5

    Candice

    Swimming against the tide with this one. Much better than Sex and Rage, and I don't know if part of my dislike was that I listened to it as an audio book where the tone of the narrator was lascivious, jaded and scornful, although in fact that is mostly the tone of her writing. She's a good writer, and I admire her observant insights and lovely turns of phrase, but in the end it's a memoir and I don't really like her. Her characters are all essentially superficial which illustrates the superficia Swimming against the tide with this one. Much better than Sex and Rage, and I don't know if part of my dislike was that I listened to it as an audio book where the tone of the narrator was lascivious, jaded and scornful, although in fact that is mostly the tone of her writing. She's a good writer, and I admire her observant insights and lovely turns of phrase, but in the end it's a memoir and I don't really like her. Her characters are all essentially superficial which illustrates the superficiality, naked ambition and indulgence of the LA culture, at least her LA, I guess, and unlike Didion's critiques which had more historical breadth and depth, Babitz strikes me as petulant, manipulative, disappointed, and essentially sad, adulating the town on one hand and trashing it with the other. But my criticism is not for her writing.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Alvin

    A fun series of memoiristic nuggets that read like missives from a lost world: the vanished kingdom of 1970s L.A. swingers. Babitz is wry, detached, and pretty good with language. I'd recommend this book for short airplane rides. A fun series of memoiristic nuggets that read like missives from a lost world: the vanished kingdom of 1970s L.A. swingers. Babitz is wry, detached, and pretty good with language. I'd recommend this book for short airplane rides.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

    gossipy and indulgent, druggy and blissful, the kind of casual pleasure afforded by the unconsidered privileges of white beauty—still a pleasant world to live in, for a time, until you consider the powers that enable the pleasantness

  26. 4 out of 5

    s.

    dnf @ 65% the fact that i couldn't get myself to trudge through this extremely short book :// expected to love this but it just didn't work for me dnf @ 65% the fact that i couldn't get myself to trudge through this extremely short book :// expected to love this but it just didn't work for me

  27. 5 out of 5

    Joey Shapiro

    Perfect beautiful wonderful book, a new favorite, I’m buying Eve’s Hollywood the second I get to work in 3 minutes. Just like the most interesting and funny person in the world taking you by the hand and walking you through all the glamour and excess and beauty and tragedy of LA. I miss the city of stars!! La la land!!! Tinseltown!!!!! Etc

  28. 5 out of 5

    daniella ❀

    It's fascinating how I experienced California through Eve's words. She is the ultimate "hot girl doing hot girl things" and I wish I have a friend like her. I could listen to all her stories and gossip all day. Love how she adds glitter to the ordinary. Eve Babitz, no one does it like you did. I love you and your mind. It's fascinating how I experienced California through Eve's words. She is the ultimate "hot girl doing hot girl things" and I wish I have a friend like her. I could listen to all her stories and gossip all day. Love how she adds glitter to the ordinary. Eve Babitz, no one does it like you did. I love you and your mind.

  29. 4 out of 5

    andreea.

    "I was a difficult, mean bitch, whose cat, it was rumored, bit men. (And whose cat did.) I lived on a street in the middle of Hollywood with an abundance of palm trees and my orange sunsets over the jacaranda branches. Shawn’s always trying to smooth things over and I’m always trying to rumple them up." "When I was twenty-eight, I decided to make serious stabs at adulthood, and I plunged into fatal misadventures which nearly killed the poor men because all I did was spend their money, vamp the la "I was a difficult, mean bitch, whose cat, it was rumored, bit men. (And whose cat did.) I lived on a street in the middle of Hollywood with an abundance of palm trees and my orange sunsets over the jacaranda branches. Shawn’s always trying to smooth things over and I’m always trying to rumple them up." "When I was twenty-eight, I decided to make serious stabs at adulthood, and I plunged into fatal misadventures which nearly killed the poor men because all I did was spend their money, vamp the landscape, cry, and say, “I hate San Francisco.” [...] After my second K.O., I packed everything I owned back in my car and drove south, back to L.A., knowing that I was never going to grow up like you’re supposed to." "It's well known that for something to be fiction it must move right along and not meander among the bushes gazing into the next county. Unfortunately, with L.A. it’s impossible. You can’t write a story about L.A. that doesn’t turn around in the middle or get lost."

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sian Lile-Pastore

    I LOVE Eve Babitz! I love reading books set in LA in the 70s! I want a bungalow and a pool in 70s LA and possibly be a bit drunk all the time. These stories (mainly about men) are just so effortless and funny and smart, like hanging out with the coolest girl ever.

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