Lush Life, Paperback
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


'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




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I thought this had just about the snappiest, funniest start to a novel imaginable, every bit as 'real' in its use of dialogue as The Wire, for which Price has written on several occasions. The rest of the novel doesn't quite live up to that moment (though there are other hilarious set-pieces, most notably the funeral orations for Ike Marcus, whose murder lies at the centre of the book). I think this is because Price is writing within the crime genre but with a focus much more on character and social comment than on plot. This is admirable, and certainly allows for some effective satire aimed at Manhattan's young, artistic community, but if you are going to invest time in a lengthy genre novel then you expect plot to lie at its heart. There are no twists in this novel, just the slow, unremarkable unfolding of a murder investigation.

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