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Dead Boys: Stories by Richard Lange
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Dead Boys: Stories

by Richard Lange

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I am a white man. I am almost certainly under-employed. I once had success with women, but I have now fallen into loneliness. I often fantasize about sleeping with women I will never approach. If I don't do this, I sleep with prostitutes. In any case, I have women problems. My friends aren't really friends, just other people sharing my immediate space. I have a tendency to use metaphors or analogies which are, to put it mildly, hackneyed. Moon, milk, blood, water, dripping. "The sun... sliced into us like laser beams." You get the point. I am the character in each of these stories.

There is the one protagonist, one sentence length, one tone throughout this entire collection. Each story on its own is pretty good. Lange can write, no doubt about it. But boy does it get tiresome over the length of a book. It's really worth three stars, but Goodreads' scale is so skewed that I could only give it 2. Basically, it's worth a weekend read from the library. I hope his novel is a little more varied than these stories. ( )
  stillatim | Dec 29, 2013 |
The reviews printed in this book compare Richard Lange to Raymond Carver and Denis Lehane, and I think they're right. The stories in this collection call Carver immediately to mind, set as they are in a dark, hardscrabble Southern California. The stories are longer and probe deeper and are what Lehane might write if he wrote about Los Angeles.

The stories are all beautifully written, sad and hopeful all at once. "Bank of America" is the one I thought of long after finishing, but all the stories deal with failure--failed actors, failed providers, dying relationships. Just about nearly perfect. ( )
1 vote RidgewayGirl | Nov 7, 2008 |
I was drawn to this book because the publicity and word on the street made comparisons between his stories and Denis Johnson's, Raymond Carver's, and, one of my new favorites, Scott Wolven. I must say the comparisons are apt and I would also throw in Thom Jones for good measure. Blurbs were coming from T.C. Boyle, Alice Sebold, and George Pelecanos and I am now adding my own support to the list. One of the things I like most is when I read a sentence or a paragraph that is unique and poetic and contains just the right amount of insight and emotion so that I can only pause, stare of into space and dream about writing one like it. Richard Lange accomplishes that over and over in this collection of stories. They are petty theft gritty with slightly off center characters trying (and often failing) to get just a little juice from the lemon of life. The stories feature many places you will recognize if you live in Los Angeles, not necessarily by name but by description alone (Tang's Donuts for example). There's despair, there's hope, there's redemption...all the classics. -Steve
2 vote skylightbooks | Feb 9, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316017361, Hardcover)

These hard-hitting, deeply felt stories follow straight arrows and outlaws, have-it-alls and outcasts, as they take stock of their lives and missteps and struggle to rise above their turbulent pasts. A salesman re-examines his tenuous relationship with his sister after she is brutally attacked. A house painter plans a new life for his family as he plots his last bank robbery. A drifter gets a chance at love when he delivers news of a barfly's death to the man's estranged daughter. A dissatisfied yuppie is oddly envious of his ex-con brother as they celebrate their first Christmas together.


Set in a Los Angeles depicted with aching clarity, Lange's stories are gritty, and his characters often less than perfect. Beneath their macho bravado, however, they are full of heart and heartbreak.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:24 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"In his first book, Richard Lange charts a Los Angeles that is more gritty than glamorous, a place where the freeway ends, the money runs out, and hard decisions must be made. The men at the heart of these stories - straight arrows and outlaws, have-it-alls and outcasts - are wrestling with their pasts, struggling to make a living, and trying desperately to connect with the world around them."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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