Lush Life
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Lush Life

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  7,964 ratings  ·  1,385 reviews
"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
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Hardcover, 464 pages
Published March 4th 2008 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published January 1st 2008)
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Dan Schwent
Bartender Eric Cash sees a coworker murdered and proves to be a poor witness. But was he really just a witness or did he shoot Ike Marcus? And if he didn't, who did?

During my second meeting with Kemper, he mentioned Richard Price being pretty good. I promptly forgot the name until a year later while I was watching The Wire, another Kemper recommendation. I found this down at the used bookstore and picked it up.

It pains me to say it, since I hold Kemper and The Wire in high regard, but I wasn't h...more
Paul
1) Police prodecurals are not thrillers or mysteries or detective stories, they're grind-em-out painful-detail-by-painful-detail hour-by-hour no-heroes no-feel-good gloomfests. Looking at the one and two star reviews on Bookface for Lush Life, it seems perhaps people are reading Lush Life for the wrong reasons. Ain't going to be any epiphanies here, no triumph, no resolution, if the bad guys are ever caught, which is dubious, it'll probably be through some banal circumstance, some by-the-book le...more
Greg
There is a scene in the middle of Lush Life where the New York Post runs a story about one of the characters, a mid-thirties LES wanna-be someone but never will be anyone (or an aging failed hipster); the story is page three, pretty prominent placement usually reserved for stories like "Jacko has gone Wacko". Within hours of this story hitting the New York Post every slimy greasy hipster of the Rivington St. area has seen this story and turns this guy into a social pariah. Wanna be actors and fi...more
Jessica
May 06, 2008 Jessica rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: young, attractive LES artistes with hell of money, who love the wire
Recommended to Jessica by: mom; times book review
Man, I am so over New York City. Seriously. I want to pack it all up and move to Berlin.... too bad I don't know any German.

Seriously, this place sucks.

That's about all I got out of this book: a heightened sense of dissatisfaction and frustration with my environment. As mentioned below, I never cared at all about any of the characters, and there didn't seem to be much of a point to the plot or anything that anyone did the whole time. I guess I mildly enjoyed it, in a bored kind of way. It was fu...more
Yulia
Sep 24, 2011 Yulia marked it as left-unfinished
Shelves: criminal-intent
Lazily written, this book may well make for a good movie one day, but it seems Price has spent too much time writing TV scripts, he's forgotten how to write prose (of course, I've not read anything else of his, so perhaps he never knew). No, lists of people, objects, sights, and neighborhoods can't substitute for atmosphere, perception, and insight. It's insulting to be given his mental scraps. I'm not starving here. I'll meet you on DVD.
K.D. Absolutely
Mar 21, 2011 K.D. Absolutely rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to K.D. by: Barack Obama
Shelves: guy-lit
The two faces of New York Lower East Sides: one a high-priced bohemia and the other a home to hardship, its residents pushed to the edges of their time-honored turf.

Eric Cash is one of those residents. He has been a bartender for 8 years and dreams of becoming an actor or a writer or a restaurateur. He has been dreaming that long – in fact for 8 years – so that he is now the oldest employee at Café Berkmann. At 32, although he is already the manager, he is bored on waiting when any of his dreams...more
Amanda
Oh man, I've been waiting to read this since it was released last year. Price at his best and a must-read for anyone with any kind of relationship to New York City. A song of the contemporary Lower East Side constructed around an essentially random murder that here is spun out (very The Wire–like) so that we meet and know the entire cast of characters: the waiter-slash-artist-slash-whatever young, vibrant, neo-bohemian, white victim; the waiter-slash-writer not-so-young, stuck, white witness; th...more
Zoeytron
This is a fine police procedural, chock o' block with the day-to-day ins and outs, the dos and don'ts, and the exasperating politics of law enforcement. Richard Price is right at the top of the tree in creating perfect characterizations of individuals who are far from perfect.

Matty Clark is the lead investigator of a street mugging that morphs into a shooting and results in murder. Matty is divorced and the father of two nearly grown sons. He has been far removed from their lives and is indiffer...more
Mike Lindgren
Richard Price’s novel Lush Life is a messy brawl of a crime story; diffuse, overlong, ambiguous and vexing, the book is, in short, a perfect fictional mirror for contemporary New York City. Price’s story deals with the fallout of a random murder on the Lower East Side: Two young black men from the nearby projects attempt a stickup of three barhopping hipsters, which goes awry when one of the victims resists in a burst of misplaced bravado. The ensuing investigation blows a huge hole in the lives...more
Brian
Lush Life by Richard Price is a really good book and it might even be a great book. It hits the pre-reqs one after another: the major players seem fully rounded people, the dialogue seems like words real folk might speak, the description of action and place verges on poetry, and the actual happenings are interesting, engaging, and worthy of the reader plowing forward, real world ignored, but the book has one failure that keeps on brewing since I read the last page.

With one exception the women ch...more
Patrick Brown
I had high hopes for this book. I really only know Price's work from films (Clockers, Life Lessons (which is the first part of New York Stories)) and TV (The Wire), but I was looking forward to reading a book of his. I got a galley of this one (due out in March) and figured I'd give it a shot.

Lush Life follows several characters around the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the wake of a murder. The characters are well drawn and three dimensional, even some of the minor characters (I'm thinking of...more
Alison
Lush Life is a complex, gritty crime novel that also happens to be a haunting, anxious tale of gentrification, community and fatherhood, wrapped around a poison-pen love letter to the Lower East Side. Ignoring any one of those facets would miss the nuanced big picture thing that Price has going on here, but Lush Life doesn't require all that much digging and scratching on the reader's end. It's a visceral, immediate read. Don't be surprised if you can't put it down.



Beth F.
I couldn't put this down and really wish I'd read it over a weekend instead of the middle of the week because I kept thinking about it during work, it was that addictive!

So why only 3 stars? Here's the breakdown:

--Excellent dialogue, ****
--Addictiveness, ****

--I understand the lack of decent prose, the author is a successful writer of screenplays. And if this is ever adapted to the silver screen I'md so there. **
--And for a little something I call "the New York Factor", **

On several occasions, i...more
Jessica
Yet another pitch-perfect take on urban crime, policing, and city life by Richard Price. Set on the Lower East Side of Manhattan post-9/11, this story centers on the shooting death of a young white hipster who had just started working at a young white hipster restaurant in the neighborhood, and the subsequent police investigation. At first the investigation centers on one of the two other white hipster guys accompanying the victim that night, but finding the answer to what happened turns out to...more
Seán
I love Richard Price's ear for dialogue, how he can recreate with precision the way an aging LES hipster or cop from New Dorp Beach would verbally navigate a murder scene or essay a response to a tabloid hack's query. Plus, the comic moments are short and staccato just like how in real life funny things tend to pop out of the ordinary and then quickly die away.
David
Mar 21, 2008 David rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of TV's "Law & Order" franchise
Shelves: read-in-2008
"Lush Life" received unprecedented exposure and extravagantly positive reviews in The New York Times. It began on March 2nd with a highly flattering portrait of the author by Charles McGrath. On March 4th, Michiko Kakutani weighed in with a glowing endorsement ("a dazzling prose movie of a novel.") Then - amazingly - a second, equally ebullient, review by Walter Kirn in the Sunday Books section on March 16th. So many column inches for just one book - somewhere the debut novelists whose efforts d...more
Steve
Lush Life has prompted a debate I’m now having with myself. How much crime drama should I include in my diet? Unfortunately, I read this one fast on the heels of David Simon’s great non-fictional account, Homicide. Just about anything would suffer in comparison with that. Simon had great character profiles, crisp language, and well-paced plots. With Price, the dialog was good and the plot was above average, but the characters weren’t as vivid. Maybe Simon’s advantage was that truth really can be...more
Mark

Richard Price is the kind of author who should put to an end any further false distinction between "superior" and "inferior" genres of writing.

He lives in the world of police, urban landscapes and crime, but his writing -- the pacing, dialogue, human subtlety, ear for argot, and plotting -- make him as good a writer as there is out there.

In "Lush Life," he spins the tale of a fairly typical big city shooting death, showing in the lives of police, perpetrators, witnesses and victims that there i...more
Frederick
Mar 18, 2008 Frederick marked it as to-read
Shelves: price-richard
I snapped this up as soon as I saw it in the store. Richard Price has interested me ever since my brother said I should read THE WANDERERS, back when it was a paperback on the drugstore rack. My brother championed three writers in my youth: Kurt Vonnegut, Jean Shepherd and Richard Price. Not a bad big brother to have, eh?
Nigel Bird
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 li...more
Ethan Miller
I was so entranced by Clockers and this book is easily its equal in showcasing Price's pitch perfect dialog. I felt that the movement of the story or perhaps the characters themselves weren't quite as strong in Lush Life. But perhaps Lush Life is just more grim, another step further down into the void from Clockers and without much glimmer of hope. In Price's world you don't just brush against and move by characters who have lost their child, their innocence, their mind---you inhabit their disor...more
Becky
"Lush Life" revolves around a random slaying which Eric Cash, a young bartender/writer witnesses and in which his "friend" is killed. The police question Eric and finally arrest him. The story unfolds as the police, who have serious problems of their own, continue to investigate the murder and then the victim's father shows up to complicate matters. Interspersed with all this is the life of the real shooter. There seemed to be several points of similarity including the amount of corruption in th...more
Jennifer
Jun 04, 2009 Jennifer rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jennifer by: YELP Bookclub
This was a bookclub read and I know I would have never have read it if it hadn't been for bookclub - so YAY bookclub! When I look Price up on Wikipedia I see that not only does he write for The Wire on HBO but he apparently came up with the concept of Michael Jackson's 'Bad' video. Cool!

Here is where I had a hard time with the book - I am a reeeeeally visual person. I basically have to see something to understand it. So this book drops me on page one in New York City with a bunch of detectives t...more
Rachel
When it comes to the police procedural, no one is better than Richard Price, but Lush Life is his weakest novel of the last fifteen years. Billed as a culture clash between the immigrants, working poor, and project residents who live on New York's Lower East Side and the new young group of hipster posers who are moving in and pushing them out, the theme is not really that expansive. It's mainly just the story of botched robbery that ends in murder, and focuses on three characters, Eric Cash, one...more
Mark
I know this novel has gotten high praise--and I do intend to read more of Price's work (CLOCKERS is in my stack)--but I have to say my overall reaction was fairly tepid.

In trying to come to a pithy conclusion about the novel, what I thought of was those scientists who drill miles down into the arctic ice to get a core sample that tells them exactly what earth's atmosphere was in, say, 200 BC. LUSH LIFE strikes me, most of all, as an incredible "core sample" of a few blocks of the Lower East Sid...more
Agreenhouse
Although I usually don't read detective novels, I had heard so much about Richard Price that I wanted to give one of his books a try. I was not disappointed. I recommend the book to those who want a fast-paced, suspenseful, suprisingly tender read. A good novel always changes how you see the world, and the main character of Officer Marty Clark has given me more respect and empathy for all NYPD detectives out there trying to solve the city's crimes. And now, for a while at least, as I wander arou...more
Judy
The Lower East Side of New York City has multiple faces. Two are explored in this book. "Bohemers" live in pricy apartments surrounded by popular bars and trendy restaurants where the night life draws in a wealthy crowd looking for some excitement. The poor live in run-down projects just a few blocks away where crime and drug-dealing is part of a normal day and where it seems almost impossible to break out of the poverty cycle. These worlds collide late one night when a drunk, young white man wh...more
Matt
Eric Cash is a restaurant manager in New York City. He's a failed writer and actor, coming to the long-gestating realization that he's never going to achieve his heartfelt goals. One night, he goes out with a co-worker, Ike, and Ike's friend Steven. There's a mugging, or so Erick says, and Ike gets shot and killed.

This is the plot of Richard Price's Lush Life. But like Clockers, plot isn't high on Price's list of things to do. He is a master of place and dialogue.

Sure, this is a police procedu...more
Drew
A novel that pans out as a police procedural must: shit happens; a lot of people talk shit; others land in the shit; and in the end it's a shitty business that fits into the grinding gears of police work. In Price's New York injustice is integral to every aspect of life: where and how you live, how you talk, what you wear and how you die. There are touching comparisons between the murder shrines for privileged white kids and their less fortunate Puerto Rican fellow victims.
Sometimes the whole t...more
Jeffrey
Apr 18, 2008 Jeffrey rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who like books
Recommended to Jeffrey by: New York Times
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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A self-described "middle class Jewish kid," Price grew up in a housing project in the northeast Bronx. Today, he lives in New York City with his family.

Price graduated from the Bronx High School of Science in 1967 and obtained a BA from Cornell University and an MFA from C...more
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“falafel joint, jazz joint, gyro joint, corner. Schoolyard, creperie, realtor, corner. Tenement, tenement, tenement museum, corner. Pink Pony, Blind Tiger, muffin boutique, corner. Sex shop, tea shop, synagogue, 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, Ladi Di mural, corner. Bling shop, barbershop, car service corner.” 12 likes
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