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Lush Life: A Novel Paperback – March 3, 2009
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Price is widely regarded as a master of dialogue, and a master of capturing how people walk it and talk it in the real world. And he certainly does that here, conveying almost everything important via dialogue, which is often heavily spiced with street slang or on the job jargon (which some readers may find offputting). Moreover s a fan of procedurals, I was hooked from the get go by Price's ability to set up the situation, show it go down, and then maintain the seperate threads. Indeed, for the first third of the book, I was completely engrossed.
However, after around 150 pages, he story loses momentum, and the final third of the book definitely drags. A large part of this has to do with the various perspectives Price keep shifting between, and his inability to trim away the fat. While it makes sense that we spend a good deal of time with lead detective Matty, who's trying to sort through conflicting statements and witness accounts, the story isn't helped by his semi-flirtation with the relative of the victim, and a subplot invovling his own stupid kids is really unnecessary.Read more ›
Detectives Matty and Yolanda are charged with solving Ike's murder despite the inexplicable reluctance of their superiors to support the effort. Billy Marcus, Ike's father, attracts Matty's sympathy, both as a victim and as a representative of fatherhood, a role that continues to baffle Matty as he tries to deal with his wayward sons. Eric Cash, a bartender who was with Ike when he was shot, follows a downward spiral in the wake of the murder. The shooter, a formerly good kid living in low-income housing, struggles to find some control in an otherwise helpless, and hopeless, situation. Even the more minor characters have burdens that overtake their dreams.
This ambitious novel suffers at times from meandering subplots, some of which seem completely superfluous, not even adding to the larger portrait of life downtown; however, where the structure is more focused, Price shines. Stylistically, Lush Life makes demands on its readers through its sometimes unconventional prose and multiple points-of-view that skip from character to character, subplot to subplot. The result is a memorable, though fractured, portrait of the seedy side of New York.
I recommend this complex novel for Richard Price fans, readers of literary fiction, and those who want more than the usual summer fare. Skip this if you want a suspenseful, quick-read crime novel.
Don't pick up a copy of Richard Price's "Lush Life," unless you're ready to give up your weekend. It's compulsively readable, and it's that good. It's also pretty depressing, but depressing in that, "Oh, God, that's life," way.
"Lush Life," is a police procedural that takes place over a little more than a week in the gentrified Inferno of NYC's lower east side. We meet the gentry, the old-timers, the cops, and, of course, the criminals. Nobody's clean, everybody's skimming, everybody's on the make for one thing or another, one guy gets shot in a mugging gone bad, and hell breaks loose in hell.
"Lush Life," has a lot going for it. The characters seem right, and true; the mileu is nailed; most of the pieces seem to be absolutely right-on, though I had a problem with a New Orleans style memorial service that tipped over the top; and the dialogue is so good it could have been written by Satan himself. One character seems to be the moral hinge of the novel - the father of the young man killed in the mugging. He's both pathetic, and a wraith, and he falls apart and comes back together more than once as he reaches for meaning and redemption.
Is there meaning, is there redemption? Check out the last stanza of Billy Strayhorn's incredible lyrics to the Duke Ellington tune, Lush Life:
"Romance is mush/stifling those who strive/so I'll live a lush life in some small dive/And there I'll be/While I rot with the rest/of those whose lives are lonely too..."
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Gritty description of life in the poorer parts of NYC. The language is of the streets. The characters are unique to the kind of tough city street life mentioned here. Read morePublished 3 months ago by william meyers
You feel the energy from the streets & the people. You become emotionally involved in the story. It pulls the crime drama genre to a different level from the norm. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Paddi Burke
One of the most entertaining, well-written police 'procedurals' I've ever read. Incredible dialogue, believable, well-developed characters. Loved it.Published 5 months ago by Michael Brennan
So The Whites was not available and that's what I really wanted to read. I settled for this book as my first reading of Richard Price. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Pegggy
Richard Price is a great writer, with a real ear for urban dialogue. His characters ring true and his story telling puts the reader right into the middle of the drama. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amy L. McLean
Some parts of this book bring back sad truths of growing up and then the thread is lost in his pathos.Published 7 months ago by Donald E Thompson
Price is a really good writer, keeps the story moving, develops his characters really well. I have read several of his books, have enjoyed them all. Read morePublished 8 months ago by michael p.