2008 / Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Review by Kathy Parsons
Lush Life is the first of Richard Price’s books that I’ve read, so I had no idea of what to expect from him as a writer. I had a very tough time getting started with this book, and never really got into it completely. The first few chapters made little sense to me, and since most of the story is told through dialogue, I found it extremely difficult to keep the characters straight until I was well into the novel. I actually reread the first fifty or so pages to see what I had missed, but that really didn’t help much. Once the story got rolling, some of the characters became a bit more three-dimensional, but I really can’t say I liked or even cared about most of them or understood their motives. If I hadn’t agreed to review this book, I probably would have stopped at about page 100 (of 452). Instead of being whisked off to another place or another life, as I often am with books, I never stopped being aware that I was reading words. Character development was very sparse, which was what made it so hard to keep the many characters straight or to gain insight into their thoughts or their pasts to understand their actions. Having the story told mostly in dialogue is a very interesting concept, but there was too much street and police jargon, which also left me feeling like an outsider. Introducing subplots can often flesh out a novel, but I was left with too many questions that were never answered. It is possible that a second reading of Lush Life would be much easier to follow, but I’m not sure I’m willing to invest that kind of time again.
September 9, 2008