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Lush Life [Hardcover]

Richard Price
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Book Description

4 Mar 2008
'So, what do you do?' Whenever people asked him, Eric Cash used to have a dozen answers. Artist, actor, screenwriter But now he's thirty-five years old and he's still living on the Lower East Side, still in the restaurant business, still serving the people he wanted to be. What does Eric do? He manages. Not like Ike Marcus. Ike was young, good-looking, people liked him. Ask him what he did, he wouldn't say tending bar. He was going places - until two street kids stepped up to him and Eric one night and pulled a gun. At least, that's Eric's version. In Lush Life, Richard Price tears the shiny veneer off the 'new' New York to show us the hidden cracks, the underground networks of control and violence beneath the glamour. Lush Life is an X-ray of the street from a writer whose "tough, gritty brand of social realism ...reads like a movie in prose' Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 455 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux; 1 edition (4 Mar 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374299250
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374299255
  • Product Dimensions: 23.5 x 16.3 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,654,448 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Richard Price is the author of seven novels, including Clockers, Freedomland and Samaritan. He won a 2007 Edgar Award for his writing on the HBO series The Wire.

(Photo credit: Ralph Gibson)

Product Description


'Richard Price is the greatest writer of dialogue, living or dead, this country has ever produced. Wry, profane, hilarious and tragic, sometimes in a single line, Lush Life is his masterwork. I doubt anyone will write a novel this good for a long, long time' Dennis Lehane 'A gritty tale from a writer I really admire' James Patterson 'A visceral, heart-thumping portrait of New York City' New York Times 'Lush Life peels off the shiny top layer of New York to reveal the raw beating heart of the city post 9/11' Daily Mail --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Richard Price is the author of seven novels, including Clockers, Freedomland and Samaritan. He won a 2007 Edgar Award for his writing on the HBO series The Wire. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A book of 2 halves. 31 July 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Richard Price is a heavyweight of a writer that's for sure.

For the first seven rounds of Lush Life, he's out like Cassius Clay, speed and footwork, nifty combinations and power, mouth and trousers. From then on, it's more of a case of the later Ali, all rope-a-dope with the occasional flurry of brilliance (and sometimes merely a flurry).

Lush Life is set in Manhattan. The beginning centres upon a group of characters whose lives are soon to intertwine, each of them vividly described and full of life - full of life, that is, until one of them is shot. The fallout from the murder is huge and the police are quick to arrest the victims boss, barman Eric, on the grounds that he's been identified by two eye-witnesses.

Eric is put under immense pressure as the cops try to find the information they need. As the investigation proceeds, the locality is laid bare and explored quite beautifully.

The day-to-day of police work and cop-politics are also exposed. Loyalties are stretched. Favours called in. Relationships explored. The need for people to `become something' is analysed.

Most importantly, the interest level is maintained at a high-pitch. The descriptions are superb and the dialogue purrs.

A new dimension is introduced when the victim's father arrives in town. He falls apart as the pages turn and it's a painful thing to witness as it seems so very true to life.

So far, so very good.

Up until the point where conflicting stories to those of the eye-witnesses come into play and the resolution to that particular issue is reached I was completely involved and delighted that there was so much more of the book to enjoy.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More appealing to the head than the heart 4 April 2008
Let me start by saying that I'm a huge Richard Price fan. His earlier books--Bloodbrothers and The Breaks in particular--were epiphanies to me. For my money, Clockers is a contender for the Great American Novel. Technically, Lush Life is just as adroit--the snappy pacing, the spot-on descriptions, the breathtaking attention to detail, the surefire characterisations, all of which are Price specialities, are there, honed to stiletto sharpness. But while the plot would appear to offer plenty of opportunities for emotion--a 20-something man is murdered during an aborted hold-up, and in the course of the investigation we meet his mad-with-grief father--the overall effect is clinical rather than empathetic. That may be because none of the characters are really sympathetic; even the murdered man comes across as someone you'd avoid speaking to at a party for more than a few minutes. The result is a gripping read that keeps you flipping the pages so that you can absorb Price's dazzling word wizardry and learn the outcome of the investigation. Yet once you finish the book, the story and the characters, unlike those of Price's best books, are unlikely to remain with you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Award winning writer on The Wire, Richard Price is a writer who knows what he's doing. His use of the culture of the New York projects, the housing areas, the downtown bars and tenements, the boutiques and sex shops, the bling shops and car service centres, plus his cop-talk savvy and brilliant working of dialogue and description makes him one of the heirs to Nelson Algren (writer of The Man with the Golden Arm and A Walk on the Wild Side) as a writer prepared to write from a working-class perspective and depict the lives of black people with sympathy and realism as well as the cultural and social maelstrom of New York. The dialogue is so good it squeaks like clean hair.

The novel concerns Eric Cash, a thirty-five year-old man, struggling to write, meanwhile running a low-market café, who is walking home with friends when two men step out from the shadows and attempt a robbery, in the course of which one of his companions, Isaac Marcus, is shot dead. As a result Eric is suspected of the crime, since the witnesses cannot agree on how the shooting went down. He was holding a mobile phone at the time, a glittery object that is confused with the gun. His experience is terrifying, hauled in for questioning, subjected to degrading treatment. This is a deeply affecting novel for around the first half, but it sadly tails off somewhat after the initial incident and the scenes of Eric's interrogation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Red Rock Bookworm TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Richard Price has a reputation for possessing the unique ability to capture the pulse of New York City and it's inhabitants. In the case of Lush Life, the pulse is erratic and it appears that the patient will require life support to survive. The dialogue is hard to follow and the story itself is a bit too "realistic" for my taste.

The New York featured here is not the city of Madison Avenue and Broadway plays. This city is dirty and unforgiving, most of the characters, from cops to thugs, tend to be the failures of society who lack any sort of moral compass (but, of course, we are urged to cut them a little slack since their shortcomings are due to unfulfilled dreams and circumstances over which they have no control). Situations are not "lush" and the "life" we observe is little more than just mere existence. This is just a little too "front page news" for me. There is the same lack of accountability for ones actions that we observe on a daily basis as we read our daily newspaper or catch the evening news. The news is depressing.......and so is this novel.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Clocking Off
It's a long book, that's for sure and I was feeling it by the end.
It's also a very good one.
Eric, bar-manager, and Matty, Detective, are the eyes and ears through which... Read more
Published 21 months ago by PA
2.0 out of 5 stars A long slog of a book
I found it really hard to finish this book - although it could be that it was not the genre I prefer as I was reading it for a book club. Read more
Published on 21 Mar 2010 by P. Comben
4.0 out of 5 stars A teeming, multi-layered `tour de force' ....
To say that Richard Price writes superb dialogue is almost like stating a given - like water is wet - but it is a given that we should nonetheless both acknowledge and admire. Read more
Published on 3 Mar 2010 by bressons_puddle
5.0 out of 5 stars A Symphony In Words!
Lush Life, the latest book from Richard Price, is, as the jacket describes, essentially a story of two Lower East Sides in New York City: one a high priced bohemia, the other a... Read more
Published on 25 Feb 2010 by bobbewig
2.0 out of 5 stars A hard slog
Really at a loss regarding the praise for this book. The only one by Richard Price I have read and I am willing to believe he has written better but it will be a long time before I... Read more
Published on 10 Dec 2009 by M. BURNS
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent police procedural
Many people will be tempted to pick this book up due to the author's connections to the tv show 'The Wire', and they will be richly rewarded for doing so. Read more
Published on 18 Oct 2009 by Dublinia
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling police procedural
Sparkling dialogue throughout. The interrogation scene was compelling as Cash moved from key witness to prime suspect. Read more
Published on 16 Oct 2009 by Officer Dibble
1.0 out of 5 stars What's all the fuss about?
If you're one of those people who wang on at dinner parties about how good The Wire is (even though it took you "6 episodes to really get into it") then this book is for you. Read more
Published on 8 Sep 2009 by Strong Cheddar
4.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing crime novel
It takes time to get into this but is definitely worth it. Price builds a mosaic of a crime novel that explores community, family and poverty,and the meaning of success, using an... Read more
Published on 13 Aug 2009 by J. H. Bretts
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good - but not brilliant
Lush Life documents the story of a shooting in New York involving an actor (read: waiter)and the ensuing investigation.

The trademark Price ingredients are here. Read more
Published on 15 Jun 2009 by MrShev
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