I first started reading Richard Price because I was bored and homesick. He was speaking at Cornell while I matriculated at the People's Favorite college in Ithaca, and I'd heard his name before, so I figured it was worth a shot (I used the same theorizing to attend an event with Phillip Glass...bad call on that one). So I went downtown to the Autumn Leaves bookstore, bought a copy of The Breaks, and went over to hear Price read excerpts from a book he was working on (which later became Freedomland). I got him to sign The Breaks at the wine-and-cheese reception that followed but probably didn't get around to reading the book until after I was done with Freedomland and Clockers. Pretty soon, though, I was all caught up with the Richard Price ouevre and ever since have kept a lookout for something new from him. The list of authors whose books I look forward to grows a little smaller every year (though I'm giving you one more chance with the next one, Ellroy), and Price is always at the top of that list.
So, a few months ago, I was pretty jazzed to see that Lush Life was due out. Price's books are always good, fast-paced (as opposed to quick, which implies a certain degree of lightness) reads, and Lush Life is no different. It's killer. You oughta read it.
That's really all I have to say. You can find reviews by people who do that sort of thing for a living elsewhere on the Internets. But just take my word for it--Richard Price is a literary ass-kicker. And you can tell him so yourself at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum in NYC on Tuesday. C'mon...the chance to hear a writer talk about his book in the very area of the city where much of the book's action takes place? It's a slam dunk. Be there.
(As a side note that should in no way influence you reading the book or going to the event, I would like to register my one complaint about Lush Life--what's up with all the dropped question marks in dialogue? Author's decision? Shoddy copy editing? I want answers. But I feel too nerdy/copyeditorish to ask Price in person on Tuesday. Feel free to do so yourself, though. 6:30 p.m.)