"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 Xray of the street in the age of no broken windows and "quality of life" squads, from a writer whose "tough, gritty brand of social realism . . . reads like a movie in prose" (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times).
- New York Times Notable Books of the Year
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.)
Copyright (c) Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
Showing 1-1 of the 1 most recent reviews
1 . As good as other Price fiction
Posted December 30, 2008 by brandoncahall , Pittsburgh, PAI found the novel very readable, as good as Price's other fiction. Interesting characters, realistic dialogue, well set, and a fast paced. I liked it!
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
March 03, 2008
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Excerpt from Lush Life by Richard Price
The Quality of Life Task Force: four sweatshirts in a bogus taxi set up on the corner of Clinton Street alongside the Williamsburg Bridge off-ramp to profile the incoming salmon run; their mantra: Dope, guns, overtime; their motto: Everyone's got something to lose.
"Is dead tonight."
The four car-stops so far this evening have been washouts: three municipals--a postal inspector, a transit clerk, and a garbageman, all city employees off-limits--and one guy who did have a six-inch blade under his seat, but no spring-release.
A station wagon coming off the bridge pulls abreast of them at the Delancey Street light, the driver a tall, gray, long-nosed man sporting a tweed jacket and Cuffney cap.
"The Quiet Man," Geohagan murmurs.
"That'll do, pig," Scharf adds.
Lugo, Daley, Geohagan, Scharf; Bayside, New Dorp, Freeport, Pelham Bay, all in their thirties, which, at this late hour, made them some of the oldest white men on the Lower East Side.
Forty minutes without a nibble . . .
Restless, they finally pull out to honeycomb the narrow streets for an hour of endless tight right turns: falafel joint, jazz joint, gyro joint, corner. Schoolyard, cr�perie, realtor, corner. Tenement, tenement,
tenement museum, corner. Pink Pony, Blind Tiger, muffin boutique, corner. Sex shop, tea shop, synagogue, corner. Boulangerie, bar, hat boutique, corner. Iglesia, gelateria, matzo shop, corner. Bollywood, Buddha, botanica, corner. Leather outlet, leather outlet, leather outlet, corner. Bar, school, bar, school, People's Park, corner. Tyson mural, Celia Cruz mural, Lady Di mural, corner. Bling shop, barbershop, car service, corner. And then finally, on a sooty stretch of Eldridge, something with potential: a weary-faced Fujianese in a thin Members Only windbreaker, cigarette hanging, plastic bags dangling from crooked fingers like full waterbuckets, trudging up the dark, narrow street followed by a limping black kid half a block behind.
"What do you think?" Lugo taking a poll via the rearview. "Hunting for his Chinaman?"
"That's who I'd do," Scharf says.
"Guy looks beat. Probably just finished up his week."
"That'd be a nice score too. Payday Friday, pulled your eighty-four hours, walking home with what, four? Four fifty?"
"Could be his whole roll on him if he doesn't use banks."
"C'mon, kid"--the taxi lagging behind its prey, all three parties in a half-block stagger--"it doesn't get better than this."
"Actually, Benny Yee in Community Outreach? He says the Fooks finally know not to do that anymore, keep it all on them."
"Yeah, OK, they don't do that anymore."
"Should we tell the kid? He probably hasn't even heard of Benny Yee."
"I don't want to come between a young man and his dreams," Lugo says.
"There he goes, there he goes . . ."
"Forget it, he just made us," Daley says as the kid abruptly loses his limp and turns east, back towards the projects, or the subways, or, like them, to simply take five, then get back in the game.
Right turn after right turn after right, so many that when they finally pull someone over, and they will, it'll take a minute to get their legs under them, to stop leaning into their steps; so many right turns that at three in the morning, six beers deep at Grouchie's, everybody silently, angrily watching the one lucky bastard getting a lap ride in a banquette by the bathrooms, they'll be canting to the right at the bar, then, later in bed, twitching to the right in their dreams.
At the corner of Houston and Chrystie, a cherry-red Denali pulls up alongside them, three overdressed women in the backseat, the driver alone up front and wearing sunglasses.
The passenger-side window glides down. "Officers, where the Howard Johnson hotel at around here . . ."
"Straight ahead three blocks on the far corner," Lugo offers.
"What's with the midnight shades?" Daley asks from the shotgun seat, leaning forward past Lugo to make eye contact.
"I got photosensitivity," the guy answers, tapping his frames.
The window glides back up and he shoots east on Houston.
"Did he call us officers?"
"It's that stupid flattop of yours."
"It's that fuckin' tractor hat of yours."
"I gots photosensitivity . . ."
A moment later they're rolling past the Howard Johnson's themselves, watching as the guy from the Denali makes like a coachman, holding the door for all the ladies filing out from the backseat.
"Huggy Bear," Lugo mumbles.
"Who the fuck puts a Howard Johnson's down here?" Scharf gestures to the seedy-looking chain hotel, its neighbors an ancient knishery and a Seventh-Day Adventist church whose aluminum cross is superimposed over a stone-carved Star of David. "What was the thinking behind that."
"Twenty-eight flavors," Lugo says. "My dad used to take me every Sunday after my game."
"You're talking the ice cream parlor," Scharf says, "that's different."
"I never had a dad," says Geohagan.
"You want one of mine?" Daley turns in his seat. "I had three."
"I can only dream of a dad who'd take me to a Howard Johnson's after my game."
"Hey, Sonny." Lugo catches Geohagan's eye in the rearview. "Later tonight, you want to have a catch with me?"
"Pokey as fuck out here, huh?" says Daley.
"That's because it's your turn to collar," Lugo says, waving off some drunk who thinks he's just flagged down a taxi.
"Somebody up there hates me."
"Hang on . . ." Scharf abruptly perks up, his head on a swivel. "That there looks good. High beams going west, four bodies."