- Hardcover: 464 pages
- Publisher: FSG Adult; 1 edition (March 10 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0374299250
- ISBN-13: 978-0374299255
- Product Dimensions: 16.7 x 4.1 x 22.5 cm
- Shipping Weight: 794 g
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #91,127 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Lush Life Hardcover – Mar 4 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. 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.)
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"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
Top customer reviews
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I enjoyed this story, because the Lower East Side circa, 2003 was one of my favorite hang out spots in New York, and this book brought that time back to life. It was an era of change, everybody talked about how the neighborhood was not what it used to be. It was becoming a playground for young professionals but always flanked by ghettos.
Crimes, even murders, like the one described in this book, did happen back then, and probably still do. This book will make you reflect on your own lives, and what the important things are.
Maybe, just maybe if someone points a gun to your chest, you really should give it up. Your wallet is not worth as much as your life...
This is a very good book. It is a vertical cut through the society at the beginning of the 21st. century, at a concrete place, New York, America. Yet this cut is so many faceted, the characters clearly distinguished and deeply understood.
As Russell Banks wrote, one would like to hope that our great-grandchildren will read this book, even though one doubts that they would be able to understand our idioms.
A small complaint, which applies to almost all authors. Can the characters have more distinct names, please? It will help much, if the book is going to be translated.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Richard Price is an amazing writer. He has the ability to get into a character's head. His writing is compassionate to all sides of the story. His grit is about real life tragedy in novel form. This book is his best yet. I have been reading it non-stop throughout the weekend. Just as he did in his writing for The Wire, he approaches all sides of reality. Unlike when I lived on Elizabeth St., this part of NYC is now ultra-pseudo-hip. With gentrification comes those who watch, disenfranchised in their own neighborhood. The neighborhood becomes their "bank." Price weaves a tale with characters from all the various characters of this lower east side neighborhood. Not surprisingly, it contains echoes of Nicole duFresne's murder in that neighborhood. Outsiders who move in who just don't know how to react to those with harmful intent as they probably never lived in such a melting pot of race and monetary disparity. She said "what are you gonna do? Shoot us?" and got shot dead when all the muggers wanted was their wallets. Ike says, "Not tonight, my man" and he too ends up dead. As Price puts it, suicide by mouth. This books really shows the the disparity between people occupying the same neighborhood. Most of the action is confined to this neighborhood, which includes cops, corner boys, white youngsters trying to be hip, older hipsters who were once young, pioneers who lived in this pre-cool-funky neighborhood, Israelis, Arabs, Latinos and Asians. I love Price's writing as he painstakingly details a short period of time as it unfolds in this murder investigation. He hits the marrow of the bone with his characterization and I hinge on every word as a Price book release is an infrequent cause for celebration. What can I say. I love everything he writes. If you loved The Wire, you will love this. He captures a moment in the ever changing face of downtown Manhattan. BRAVO RICHARD PRICE.
Price's writing style is all about reality, all about authenticity. Not only is he a master of the click and flow of dialogue, but he also sets scenes with an inexplicable deftness, like someone simply flipping a switch that lights up a stage. Price's light is warm, encompassing, but not particularly sympathetic. It's no coincidence that his story starts with a miracle debunked, or that on the way to the miracle, Eric and Ike pass a church that has -- apparantly of its own accord -- collapsed into itself. Icons, metaphors, grand idealistic totems -- Price's novel doesn't have much respect for them. Even grander themes, larger purposes, these are all shrugged off in favor of more interesting minutia. It's hard not to be impressed by how eloquently Price illuminates every speck of grit, whether it's on the streets of the city or in the hearts of its citizens.
The story is "about" a mugging-turned-murder, but this is really just a jumping off point. Price uses this moment of accidental violence to spur a story that stretches its tentacles into all areas of the Lower East Side of Manhattan, from the bureaucratic busy-bodies that hamper justice more than they aid it, to the hood rats and gangster-wannabes who are trying to find a way to prove that their life isn't just another pointless miracle, another ruined temple. Much like The Wire (which Price has also contributed to), LUSH LIFE tries to be diplomatic with its details. No one is judged, not really, and nothing is left out.
This ends up resulting in what some might call "overkill." So anxious to provide an unadulterated slice of life, Price goes a little overboard with the details, with the facets, with the broad view. I'd use the old "forest for the trees" analogy here, except the trees in this case are so beautifully described. Still, the luxuriant attention to every speck and spot makes this slice of life novel read more like an entire pie of life. For those with big appetites, it comes highly recommended.