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The Whites: A Novel Paperback – February 9, 2016
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“As unstoppable as a train coming through a tunnel… [Price] manages to give the story a fierce momentum, one that makes putting this book aside to sleep or eat or do anything else very difficult… This book literally interrupted my professional and personal life. Once in, I had to stay in and stick with it to the end.” ―Michael Connelly, The New York Times Book Review, cover review
“Riveting… [Price] has a knack for using…detective work the way John le Carré has used spy stories and tradecraft, as a framework on which to build complex investigations into the human soul... No one these days writes with more kinetic energy or more hard-boiled verve… A gripping police procedural and an affecting study in character and fate.” ―Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“A maze of a novel that alternates between scenes of intense introspection and scenes driven by dialogue… It is not, finally, a novel of clearly delineated solutions but a novel of conscience, fraught with ambivalence and ambiguity.” ―Joyce Carol Oates, New Yorker
“A masterpiece, to stand with such earlier Price classics as Clockers and Lush Life... [The Whites has] a compelling plot, yet the real joy of the book lies page by page, line by line, in its brilliant characterizations, rich detail, endless surprises, crackling dialogue, absurdist humor and panoramic portrait of endless crime breaking over the city like a tsunami.” ―The Washington Post
“Swift and exciting... The Whites is written by the much-praised novelist Richard Price, under the name Harry Brandt. Mr. Brandt, it is good to discover, is just as fine a writer as Mr. Price.” ―The Wall Street Journal
“A bravura move.... The poet of the proletariat...paint[s] an unparalleled portrait of modern urban life, with detail as rich as Dickens, and a heart as deep as Dostoyevsky. In a less refracted, distracted age, [Price] would be recognized as perhaps the major novelist of our times.” ―San Francisco Chronicle
“Terrific... Here's the real magic trick: The Whites is a serious book, with serious points to make, and at times it's almost unbearably sad. But it's also, often, very funny and deeply satisfying.” ―The Seattle Times
“Richard Price is indeed a master... The Whites is full of the rich characters, spot-on dialogue, grim humor and distinctive insights that animate his other novels, including Clockers and Lush Life.... Price is a New York writer to the core; the raw power of this great city seeps into the lives of his characters as they struggle with grief, betrayal and shame.” ―The Houston Chronicle
“Price enriches this story of a half-feral band of cops bonded by vengeance with depth, melancholy, and those famously keen eyes and ears.” ―New York Magazine
“Extraordinary... A riveting crime tale thoroughly steeped in gritty cop irony, cop slang, cop attitudes and cop justice.... The Whites is especially good at capturing New York City's peculiar brand of violent crime.” ―Newsday
“Seven years is too long for New Yorkers to wait for the next book from Richard Price but he's finally here again with a stunning NYPD novel…The Whites is grippingly immersive, its characters and the world they move through, indelible.” ―New York Daily News
“A gripping, gritty, Greek tragedy of cops, killers, and the sometimes-blurry line between them… Price is one whale of a storyteller by any name… The author skillfully manipulates [his] multiple story lines for peak suspense, as his arresting characters careen toward a devastating final reckoning.” ―Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“This is going to be a strong contender for best crime novel of 2015…. With one-of-a-kind characters and settings so real you can smell them, Brandt plunges us into the chaos of domestic life, the true agony of a parent's grief, the cost of secrets kept and revealed. He does it all with indelible phrasing that captures both the black humor of the on-the-job cop and the give-and-take of longtime married couples. While the finely tuned story engine accelerates, it's supercharged with complications…In the end, The Whites isn't about cops and killers so much as it is about the damage we all carry [and] the sins we've all committed.” ―Booklist (starred review)
“Fasten your seat belt… Old tragedies combine with fresh ones in Brandt's steely-jawed, carefully constructed procedural. Few crime novelists are as good at taut storytelling as Richard Price … In the wake of rage and sorrow, ordinary people respond by going crazy and screwing up. In this far-from-ordinary novel, Price/Brandt explores the hows and whys.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“The Whites is the crime novel of the year--grim, gutsy, and impossible to put down. I had to read the final 100 pages in a single sitting. I began being fascinated, and ended being deeply moved. Call him Price or Brandt, he knows everything about police life, and plenty about friendship: what your friends do for you…and what they sometimes do to you.” ―Stephen King
“Whether you call it a crime novel or a mystery novel or a giraffe with polka dots is largely irrelevant--The Whites is, simply put, a great American novel.” ―Dennis Lehane
“This is high-octane literature, with the best of Richard Price and his souped-up pseudonym Harry Brandt. Price/Brandt gets to the heart of those stories that everyone else refuses to tell. The Whites manages to patrol New York and deepen our sense of the city and all its dark corners.” ―Colum McCann
“Richard Price isn't fooling anybody with this Harry Brandt business; only he could have written The Whites. It has everything that makes his novels so wonderful--the dark humor, the intricate interleaving of character and plot, the deep research into the science of the streets, the moral gravity and the flawless, magical dialogue. Indeed the only credible thing to be said about Harry Brandt is that he has written one of Richard Price's best books yet.” ―Michael Chabon
About the Author
Richard Price is the author of several novels--including Clockers and Lush Life--all of which have won universal praise for their vividly etched portrayals of urban America. He lives in Manhattan with his wife, the novelist Lorraine Adams.
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Top Customer Reviews
Credit the author with an intriguing premise and some sharply drawn, if quirky, characters. Good guys and bad guys come quite starkly to life, full of warts and internal conflicts. But there are so many major characters, with so much baggage, that it’s hard to keep track of things. It’s also hard to connect with any of them, so rather than becoming absorbed in their stories, you just distantly watch them go by like commuters headed to the subway. The story isn’t really complex, it just has too much stuff crammed into it. And despite all the stuff, and many wheels of tedium endlessly grinding on, for the first 250 pages, nothing much really happens.
The author goes to great lengths to paint Billy as a sort of living saint, especially with his inhumanly patient treatment of his off-kilter wife. But he also has this affinity for using drugs on the job, which somewhat taints the whole saint image. All of the Geese, in fact, have their issues, to the extent that you wonder how they ever did any effective police work.
I thought I would like this book, and I wanted to like it, but pushing through to the end became a chore. I finished it feeling like I just walked away from in interstate pile-up, dazed and reeling. It’s not a bad book and some people will love it, particularly those who prefer things to develop meticulously, in a gritty and depressing landscape, featuring flawed characters who are angst-ridden, but it just wasn’t to my taste.
I had to force myself to stick with The Whites to the end. Not because there's anything wrong with the novel or Richard Price's writing - which is IMO masterful - but because I prefer crime/police/detective novels that are faster paced and more tightly focused (e.g., with fewer characters) than The Whites.
The title, by the way, refers to "white whales" a la Moby Dick, which in the context of The Whites are criminals who, one way or another, got away.
I grew up in Manhattan and attended art school in NYC, and I appreciated how incredibly well Price/Brandt evoked the sights, sounds, feelings, moods, and characters of the locale. I often felt, though, that what I was reading was more a series of vignettes than a series of tightly connected scenes that build on each other. And, at the risk of sounding totally lowbrow, I felt that there were too many slow parts. But as a work of literature from the masterful fiction writer I know Price to be, The Whites is undeniably good, and I'm sure many people will love it.
According to a Hollywood Reporter article from August, 2014, Sony was "in talks" to option The Whites for a movie to be produced by Scott Rudin (who produced The Firm, Ransom, which Price co-authored, Social Network, etc.).
a situation in which events happen at the same time in a way that is not planned or expected.
Coincidence, I've had a few, but too few to mention. I rarely believe in them, and when one is mentioned I look for causation. 'The Whites" seems full of coincidences. Richard Price has written another novel that will stay with you for awhile.
Billy Graves, is one of those detectives you would want if you needed one. He has seen it all, probably done it all, and would be on your side as long as you weren't on the wrong side of the law. He is 20 years in his job, working the midnight shift because of a shooting that involved a child. He does his job, is more than fair with his colleagues and remembers old friends. He has a wife, Carmen, he met her in the ED of the hospital most of his perps went to. Many cops marry nurses, they see each other in the hospital over and over again, so that is their meeting ground. They have two sons, and Billy's father lives with them. Nice life.
Billy meets up with his old colleagues from 20 years ago. They often get together for lunch, drink, eat and talk about old times. Old times often involves 'The Whites', the criminal who got away. They all have one, can't forget them, and keep tabs on where they are. These people are all Billy's friends, one of them was Billy's lover. She drinks too much, and is a mess. All but Billy have retired and gone on to bigger and better things. Billy is the narrator, and we follow him on his day to day life, at work, at home, dealing with his kids and his dad, a nice life.
Billy heard about one of his 'whites' and visits him in the hospital, they have words. Billy thinks he screwed it up, and he will never get the man. Then, he hears about two of the group's, 'whites' turning up dead. Not unusual, time has gone on. And, someone has started to follow Billy's family, not good, worrisome. Billy starts to have doubts, something is going on, something is not right. Puts a damper on his nice life.
This is a superbly written novel, you can usually trust Richard Price to bring us the best. It is slow going at times, but this is how life flows, little by little things build. Pay close attention to the details. Many characters run in and out, but the ones that matter, stay with us. With your heart in your throat, the finale will bring the relief. As Carmen says, Keep Calm, Carry On.
Highly Recommended. prisrob 02-20-15