Sunday, March 1, 2009


Richard Price writes amazing novels and screenplays, and nobody can match his ear for the rhythms of life in the city. He grew up in a housing project in the Bronx, and his work booms with the streets. His first novel, The Wanderers (1974) was a slim, breezy read (it made an okay film) but his books got bigger and better, and more ambitious in scope, producing such classics as Clockers (1992), Freedomland (1998), and finally what may be his masterpiece, Lush Life (2008). In between books, Price writes screenplays--his script for Martin Scorsese's The Color of Money (1986) was nominated for an Academy Award. Most recently he wrote for the brilliant HBO series, The Wire.

Omar on the HBO series The Wire

To say Price is just a crime novelist is like saying Saul Bellow is just some guy who writes about Chicago. Price transcends any genre pigeonhole. His beat may be inner city life and the rough characters who live it, but he captures that life in all its moral complexity. All that, and a perfect ear. Characters speak naturally, realistically, exchanging opinions, shooting the bull, shouting insults, revealing themselves. Nobody writes dialog like Price.

True dat.

Lush Life is set in the rapidly gentrifying Lower East Side, where class and color collide, and the pampered meet the desperate. Price handles the American castes like a modern day Dickens. Price may be the best writer you read all year.

"All Over the Map" -- Price joins panel discussion with three other novelists.

Richard Price gives a reading and answers questions

Richard Price on NPR's Book Tour:

Richard Price on KCRW's Bookworm:

Click here for Richard Price on NPR's Fresh Air.

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