“Mr. Price's most powerful and galvanic work yet, a novel that showcases his sympathy and his street cred and all his skills as a novelist and screenwriter . . . A visceral, heart-thumping portrait of New York City and some of its residents, complete with soundtrack, immortalized in this dazzling prosemovie of a novel.” Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“A big, powerful novel . . . Its real protagonist is the complicated, tragic, and endlessly fascinating American city street. . . . Outstanding.” Jennifer Reese, Entertainment Weekly (Grade: A)
“His prose has never felt more fluid, his plotting is spry. . . . Price's ability to capture and reproduce the rhythm, tone, and evanescent vocabulary of urban life cannot be over-praised: with all due respect to Elmore Leonard, Price is our best, one of the best writers of dialogue in the history of American literature.” Michael Chabon, The New York Review of Books
“Richard Price knows how crime sounds and smells, and he knows that it's all tied up in race and class, two big subjects all too rare in American fiction. . . . Every sentence is a pleasure.” John H. Richardson, Esquire
“Price interrogates the playerscops, perps, victims, witnessesuntil each one gives up a great human truth hidden in his seedy little soul.” Time
“Lush Life is lean, moving fast, and taking in large truths with a glance. . . . It's The Bonfire of the Vanities 2.0. Though Tom Wolfe's 1987 book remains one of the essential American novels, Lush Life is, in one way, the greater achievement.” Kyle Smith, The Wall Street Journal
“An astonishing new novel . . . Price has a black belt in dialogue, with a Ph.D. in capturing the deadpan humor that helps cops stay sane. Lush Life is a serious book, with serious points to make, but it's also a wicked pleasure to read.” Adam Woog, The Seattle Times
“Richard Price is one hell of a raconteur ... opening any of his books means getting hookedyou turn the first page on the commute back from work and next thing you know, it's 4am and you've polished off both the novel and an entire bag of Milanos.” Elisabeth Vincentelli, Time Out New York
“With LUSH LIFE Richard Price has become our post-modern American Balzac. Except that he's a whole lot funnier than Balzac and writes the language we hear and speak better than any novelist around, living or dead, American or French. He's a writer I hope my great-grandchildren will read, so they'll know what it was like to be truly alive in the early 21st century.” Russell Banks
“This is it, folks. The novel about gentrified New York, circa right now, that we've been waiting for. Richard Price understands what's happened to our beloved city, he writes dialogue like a genius, and he absolutely, genuinely cares. Unforgettable.” Gary Shteyngart
“Richard Price is the greatest writer of dialogue, living or dead, this country has ever produced. Wry, profane, hilarious, and tragic, sometimes in a single line, Lush Life is his masterwork. I doubt anyone will write a novel this good for a long, long time.” Dennis Lehane
“Price writes with the slightly manic desperation of someone determined to tell the absolute truth . . . This heightened, anxious awareness of moral and psychological complexity . . . is one of the accomplishments of first-rate writing.” Francine Prose, The New York Times Book Review, on Freedomland
Raymond Chandler is peeping out from Price's skull, as well he should be, given such gloomy doings…one detects Saul Bellow's vision, too. Price is a builder, a drafter of vast blueprints, and though the Masonic keystone of his novel is a box-shaped N.Y.P.D. office, he stacks whole slabs of city on top of it and excavates colossal spaces beneath it. He doesn't just present a slice of life, he piles life high and deep. Time too.
The New York Times Book Review
…a vivid study of contemporary urban landscape. Price's knowledge of his Lower East Side locale is positively synoptic, from his take on its tenements, haunted by the ghosts of the Jewish dead and now crammed with poor Asian laborers, to the posh clubs and restaurants, where those inclined can drink "a bottle of $250 Johnnie Walker Blue Label" or catch "a midnight puppet porno show." In this "Candyland of a neighborhood," where kids from all over the nation come to "walk around starring in the movie of their lives," it is hardly surprising that an ambitious suburban boy believes he can front up to armed muggers and live to write a treatment about it. Price's ear for dialogue is equally sharp…In the end, Lush Life is most effective as a study of sudden crime and its lingering aftermath.
The Washington Post
The hard, daily slog of police work, made up not of highlight-reel discoveries and arrests, but of the grinding, old-school, shoe-leather following of leads; the glitter, aspirational energy and spiritual emptiness of the "Bohèmers'" world of swank bars and trendy restaurants; the narrow, unforgiving routine of life in the projects, where drug dealing seems like one of the few ways out of a future of small-time "mouse plays"all these disparate worlds are captured by Mr. Price here with a pitch-perfect blend of swagger and compassion. He knows how these tectonic plates slide and crash up against one another, and he also knows how the six degrees of separation between his characters can instantly collapse into one, when a random act of violence or kindness brings players from these worlds together. He depicts his characters' daily lives with such energy, such nuance and such keen psychological radar that he makes it all come alive to the readera visceral, heart-thumping portrait of New York City and some of its residents, complete with soundtrack, immortalized in this dazzling prose movie of a novel.
The New York Times
Master of the Bronx and Jersey projects, Price (Clockers) turns his unrelenting eye on Manhattan's Lower East Side in this manic crescendo of a novel that explores the repercussions of a seemingly random shooting. When bartender Ike Marcus is shot to death after barhopping with friends, NYPD Det. Matty Clark and his team first focus on restaurant manager and struggling writer Eric Cash, who claims the group was accosted by would-be muggers, despite eyewitnesses saying otherwise. As Matty grills Eric on the still-hazy details of the shooting, Price steps back and follows the lives of the alleged shooters-teenagers Tristan Acevedo and Little Dap Williams, who live in a nearby housing project-as well as Ike's grieving father, Billy, who hounds the police even as leads dwindle. As the intersecting narratives hurtle toward a climax that's both expected and shocking, Price peels back the layers of his characters and the neighborhood until all is laid bare. With its perfect dialogue and attention to the smallest detail, Price's latest reminds readers why he's one of the masters of American urban crime fiction. Author tour. (Mar.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Eric Cash, protagonist in this adaptation of Price's latest novel, is a man whose life in New York is not meeting his expectations. Aspiring actor, author, and restaurateur, Eric is a manager of a Manhattan restaurant in 2003 and at a personal dead end. Then one evening Eric joins Ike, a new bartender, for a round of after-work bar hopping. By the end of the night, Ike has been shot dead and Eric is the main suspect. The remainder of the work combines a standard police procedural with commentary on life in New York City during the first decade of the 21st century. The whodunit part of the book contains enough twists and turns to hold listeners' interest. More powerful are Price's descriptions of the different neighborhoods of Manhattan, making the city as much a character as any human in the story. Price also provides a fascinating array of people, running the social gamut from street hustlers to wannabe artists to the city's power elite. Reader Bobby Cannavale does an excellent job translating the tale from print to the spoken word, bringing the many characters to life. One of the better audiobooks produced recently, it is highly recommended for all audio collections. [Price shared a 2007 Edgar Award as cowriter of HBO's miniseries The Wire; Lush Life is also available as downloadable audio from Audible.com.-Ed.]
Stephen L. Hupp
Price (Samaritan) is an exceptionally accomplished storyteller whose ear for the accents of New York is the equal of the late, lamented George V. Higgins's love for Boston speech. And though what Price narrates often disturbs, it is just as often funny. A hood advises a young accomplice how to use a gun for the first time: "You just do it to get it done with, then you can start concentratin' on getting better at it, havin' fun with it." The novel starts with a killing, the consequence of a late-night robbery. The killing is almost accidental; an eyewitness exclaims, "It was like God snapped his fingers." Eric, a 35-year-old failed actor and writer, is paralyzed by guilt over his failure to stop the murder. The police, who find him highly suspicious, arrest him, and everything goes downhill from there. When the shooter is finally caught, he is a pathetic man-boy from the projects. Price's New York is a city that no longer works: too many people are left bruised, with no safety net. Strongly recommended for fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ11/15/07.]
David Keymer Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
The method employed by Dostoevsky in Crime and Punishment serves Price's purpose-and then some-in his wrenching eighth novel (Samaritan, 2003, etc.). This is the story of a NYC crime and its aftermath, focused on the perpetrators; the victims and their families; the cops who doggedly pursue the frailest threads of evidence and possibility; and the bustling, chaotic momentum of an ethnically mixed urban environment forever threatened by venality, violence and despair. It opens with a vivid cluster of parallel scenes, leading toward the early-morning incident that befalls restaurant manager Eric Cash (a wannabe actor/writer whose several careers are going nowhere) and two drinking companions, when two street punks with a gun make a demand and Eric's coworker Ike Marcus offers a smiling reply-and is gunned down. Eric's version of events raises justifiable suspicions, and shapes his subsequent baffled progress toward understanding himself. Veteran homicide cop Matty Clark and his soulful Latina partner Yolonda Bello hit the streets, while attempting to deflect and relieve the crushing sorrow that circumscribes Ike's dad Billy. And never-had-a-chance, virtually family-less teenager Tristan Acevedo channels his rage into fantasies of empowerment, composing inchoate, menacing "poetry," while struggling with his demons. Price offers a profane vernacular feast of raw dialogue. And as Matty and Yolonda (subordinating their embattled personal lives to the task at hand) draw nearer to the truth, Price tells their stories in a complex structure of juxtaposed scenes that ratchets up the tension. The only thing even close to a flaw in this book is its plot's surface resemblance to that of Clockers. Butthis time Price digs deeper, and the pain is sharper. There oughta be a law requiring Richard Price to publish more frequently. Because nobody does it better. Really. No time, no way.