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A white woman, her hands gashed and bloody, stumbles into an inner-city emergency room and announces that she has just been carjacked by a black man. But then comes the horrifying twist: Her young son was asleep in the back seat, and he has now disappeared into the night. So begins Richard Price's new novel, a tale set on the same turf - Dempsy, New Jersey - as Clockers. Assigned to investigate the case of Brenda Martin's missing child is detective Lorenzo Council, a local son of the very housing project targeted...
A white woman, her hands gashed and bloody, stumbles into an inner-city emergency room and announces that she has just been carjacked by a black man. But then comes the horrifying twist: Her young son was asleep in the back seat, and he has now disappeared into the night. So begins Richard Price's new novel, a tale set on the same turf - Dempsy, New Jersey - as Clockers. Assigned to investigate the case of Brenda Martin's missing child is detective Lorenzo Council, a local son of the very housing project targeted as the scene of the crime. Under a white-hot media glare, Lorenzo launches an all-out search for the abducted boy, even as he quietly explores a different possibility: Does Brenda Martin know a lot more about her son's disappearance than she's admitting? Right behind Lorenzo is Jesse Haus, an ambitious young reporter from the city's evening paper. Almost immediately, Jesse suspects Brenda of hiding something. Relentlessly, she works her way into the distraught mother's fragile world, befriending her even as she looks for the chance to break the biggest story of her career. As the search for the alleged carjacker intensifies, so does the simmering racial tension between Dempsy and its mostly white neighbor, Gannon.
"Chilling—We have come to expect many rewards from Price's work, yet none of his previous novels have quite prepared us for the force of sympathy he is able to generate—in Freedomland."
—The New York Times Book Review
"An enormous achievement—Freedomland is Bonfire of the Vanities without the laughs, New Jersey as the ninth circle of hell, and in the end everyone burns."
"Richard Price is America's Dickens—. It is the rare novelist who doesn't just embellish the evening news but reimagines it in the context of his own America."
—Los Angeles Times
"[Price] is a writer with uncommon brains, heart and nerve."
—The Seattle Times
"A tour de force of character and plot—Freedomland teems with such dead-on detail and briny authenticity that its language must have been inspired by stairwell eavesdropping."
"A big, cinemascope thriller, a novel that captures the racial politics and media madness of the Age of O.J., a novel that transforms today's headlines into a forceful, harrowing drama....a terrific read...Price has written his most powerful novel yet."
—Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
"Price shows that he's got the best equipment a novelist can have—that combination of muscularity, insight, and compassion we might call heart."
—Washington Post Book World
"Price pressure cooks the city down to its dense, searing essentials."
—Village Voice Literary Supplement
"Powerful...harrowing...a drama of quite remarkable complexity."
—the New York Times on Clockers
"Clockers is a great piece of work."
Posted November 25, 2009
I picked up "Lush Life" in the library and fell in love with this writer. I had to get more and more! I just finished this novel and it moved me even beyond the others I've read. It's as if he reaches in and grabs the still beating hearts of his characters and shows them to you with all of their rawness and beauty and stench. I read another review by a reader who got caught up in the "truth" of what a real journalist does. What about the truth of these peoples feelings and their confusions? What about the way they are just trying to stumble through their human flawed existence and do what they can? Some more effective than others. Price really brings out all the painful details of race and hows its influenced by individuals and institutions. But even more than that he speaks to the soul of what it means to be human; defined by nature and searching for nurture.
I love how as a writer he starts out in these wide circles that grow ever tighter and smaller,as a spiral, until by the end you find yourself face to face with yourself.
ok...blah blah blah....read the book and see for yourself.
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Posted November 10, 2011
Posted August 23, 2008
I absolutely loved this book. I read it years ago and can still feel the heart-wrenching pain of the main character. I continue to recommend this book to anyone who will listen. I cannot believe the negative reviews- what are they missing?Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 31, 2006
Once again, Price displays a great sense of place, realistic, gritty dialogue and patient pacing. However, his portrayal of the reporter is off in so many ways. Granted, this is a little personal -- me being a journalist and all. But it showed me Price -- who should have the time -- didn't do his homework, and that cost the book credibility. First of all, an evening paper does NOT have a five-o-clock deadline (The paper comes OUT at five, right?). Besides, there are probably about two evening papers left in this country, and they each have a circulation of about 150. While I'm at it, daily reporters on a big story NEVER publish the story a week after the news. I could go on about more inaccuracies, but it would probably bore the non-journalist. Come on, Richard. if you'd at least consulted one reporter, he or she would've steered you right. Don't big time authors do a ton of research? And -- while I'm on my soap box here -- the overzealous reporter who'll stomp on anyone to get the story is cliche, cliche, cliche. Can we please stop villainizing the press? It's a lazy tactic more becoming of a rookie writer. Why not just throw in a sleezy defense attorney while you're at it? Or how about a bureaucratic justice system that lets bad guys out of prison on a technicality? To those who like to equate the media with demons, remember: We need someone to question authority. My final complaint is that the story did drag on a little at the end. Overall, it's a decent read but not nearly as consistent as Price's 'Clockers' or 'Ladies Man.'Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 19, 2006
The white woman walks into the hospital, her hands dripping with blood. What she tells the hospital staff ignites what is to be the start of a racial war between neighbourhoods in downtown New Jersey. Armstrong¿s Police Officer, Lorenzo Council is called in to investigate the claims of Brenda Martin ¿ that a black man carjacked her and drove off with her four year old son asleep in the backseat. Soon, the people are in an uproar as the white infested Gannon sends their police force to pick on the residents of Armstrong, while the latter retaliates with disdainful shouts of ` ¿all cause of that White B....'s kiddd?¿ Amidst the pandemonium, Lorenzo is desperate to solve the case of the missing boy, especially when it becomes palpable that Brenda Martin was not revealing the truth and that she knew more than she let on. With pressure coming from all sides, Lorenzo is forced to enlist the help of the Friends of Kent, a group formed by feisty housewives whose main cause was to locate missing children, to spend some time with Brenda ¿ and what they discover may cause even more violence and disarray to two neighbourhoods already sitting on a time bomb. Freedomland is a heavy thriller with provocative character study but it lacked one crucial element ¿ a good and gripping story. Readers might find it frustrating to flip through unnecessary pages on subjects that were irrelevant to the main plot as author has the tendency to go off tangent. Said author should pick up the pace in order to maintain momentum as he runs the risk of losing readers¿ interest with his ramblings. However, author Price has the gift of eradicating any falseness from the way the characters talked to the way they move and think. For those with the mental stamina to persevere through the inner city cockledoodledoos, you will find a satisfying read in the end.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 6, 2006
After reading the critics' reviews of this book, I was really anticipating the story. However, I found it quite difficult to read. It was an interesting story with complex characters, but I found the beginning incredibly slow and kind of boring. And while the characters were complex, I never really felt connected with them. I agree with another reviewer here in that it felt like an episode of Law & Order. I was not shocked by anything in this book. As well, the overall theme was so bleak and hopeless (which I guess is purposeful), but it really turned me off.
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Posted December 9, 1999
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