Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Richard Price, Lush Life

I just finished Richard Price's novel, Lush Life. In one word: aggravating. It begins well enough. Price details New York City and its people with a gritty clarity ("gritty" is how we all describe urban crime novels, by the way). His dialogue is great, and the story he begins to weave is intriguing -- it's centered around the homicide of a young man, witnessed by his two friends. But after only a quarter of the novel, Price tells us who shot the young man (in retrospect, it was pretty clear even earlier), yet the novel is 455 pages long, so the story just keeps going with no real prospect for a decent or interesting pay-off. I kept going, holding on to the hope that he will surprise me.


Now, like I said, Price delivers with his keen eye for detail about NYC and its characters, and the story of the protagonist is compelling, but he's not someone I was particularly rooting for. And Price does present an idea by the end of the unending cycle of crime in NYC and how the NYC police waffle between disdain and ineptitude for the constant crime cycle. I just don't think it's enough to justify 455 pages.

So, I'm on to Philip Roth's Zuckerman Bound.

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