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Lush Life by Richard Price
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Lush Life (2008)

by Richard Price

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English (86)  French (3)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (91)
Showing 1-5 of 86 (next | show all)
Richard Price’s novel Lush Life is a messy brawl of a crime story; diffuse, overlong, ambiguous and vexing, the book is, in short, a perfect fictional mirror for contemporary New York City. Price’s story deals with the fallout of a random murder on the Lower East Side: Two young black men from the nearby projects attempt a stickup of three barhopping hipsters, which goes awry when one of the victims resists in a burst of misplaced bravado. The ensuing investigation blows a huge hole in the lives of everyone involved, from cops to families to friends to assailants.

The first third of the book, dealing with the murder and its immediate aftermath, is a tight and exhilarating piece of writing. When the leads fizzle and the investigation stalls, however, the narrative loses some of its momentum as police, witnesses and suspects settle in for an enervating waiting game. Price is a canny and observant writer — his dialogue snaps and snarls with the profane rhythms of everyday speech — and he has a pitiless sense of social geography. One sequence in particular, a depiction of a vigil organized by the dead boy’s friend, is such a cruelly accurate portrayal of the fatuousness of the young bohemians invading the neighborhood that one doesn’t know whether to laugh or cringe. Price, whose most recent busman’s holiday was scriptwriting for The Wire, has a nose for the inner workings of urban life: fiction verité at its finest.

What makes Lush Life so potent a read, despite its flaws, is that it upends the tidy certainties of most crime fiction, substituting a more real and jaggedly uncertain narrative. The cops on the case are hamstrung by bureaucratic inertia; the murdered boy’s father is deranged with grief; the survivor is unhinged by guilt and resentment; and the man who pulled the trigger is not some evil psychopath but a numb, confused kid. The book’s ending implies a nearly classical fatalism about the relentless cycling of history, personal and urban. As in life, tragedies explode and fade, lives crumble and renew, and the city moves on. From The L Magazine, March 12, 2008 ( )
  MikeLindgren51 | Aug 7, 2018 |
A little conventional in that whole Raymond Chandleresque mold, but pleasant reading. Plus that’s my old stomping grounds, and the familiar is always fun. Passing it on straight to the offspring, who I bet will love it. ( )
1 vote lisapeet | Apr 29, 2018 |
Immigrant communities, projects and gentrification push up against each other in New York's Lower East Side. Two teens from the projects decide to mug three young men out barhopping. One shot, one dead and a murder case that seems to go through endless twists and turns before being solved almost by accident.
  ritaer | Jul 14, 2017 |
don't read a lot of fiction but enjoyed this. reads like an episode of the wire (author wrote for the series as well) ( )
  burningdervish | Nov 29, 2016 |
There is nothing fancy or fussy about the prose in Lush Life. But Price paints an incomparable picture of a part of New York City where the wealthy, the wanna-be's, and the city's poor co-mingle. The conversations are extremely well written and Price's flawed characters feel like real people, not characters in a book. ( )
1 vote mamashepp | Mar 29, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 86 (next | show all)
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.
added by timtom | editNew York Times, Walter Kirn (Mar 16, 2008)
 
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As always, with love for
Judy, Annie, and Gen
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The Quality of Life Task Force: four sweatshirts in a bogus taxi set up on the corner of Clinton Street alongside the Williamsburg Bridge off-ramp to profile the incoming salmon run; their mantra: Dope, guns, overtime; their motto: Everyone's got something to lose.
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original title: Lush Life
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0374299250, Hardcover)

Amazon Significant Seven, March 2008: No one has a better ear and eye for the American city than Richard Price, and in Lush Life, his first novel in five years, he leaves the fictional environs of Dempsy, New Jersey, where Clockers, Freedomland, and Samaritan were set, for a few crowded blocks of Manhattan's Lower East Side. There's a crime at the heart of the story, but you don't read Price for plot. Instead, you listen as he peels apart layers of class and history through the way his characters talk to each other: hipster bartenders who tell people they're really writers, homeboys from housing projects named after the Jewish immigrants who have long left the neighborhood, and cops, cops, cops, circling the streets looking for a collar, disappearing into their cases as their own lives go to ruin. --Tom Nissley

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:00 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

In this first-rate police procedural, Eric Cash, the 34-year-old bartendeer at Caf Berkmann and a would-be screenwriter, ends up in jail as a murder suspect and it's up to two New York City police detectives to find out the truth.

» see all 8 descriptions

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