Thursday, June 9, 2011

Lush Life, by Richard Price

Richard Price has written episodes of The Wire. I am one of those people who feel okay about saying The Wire is the greatest television show ever made, even though I haven't, you know, seen every television show ever made.

So I start reading Lush Life, which I salvaged from a friend's stoop sale box, and it's just not my speed at all. I can see the similarities to The Wire -- the characters from every aspect of life in a high-crime urban area are portrayed, lots of "gritty," lots of "real," plot looks like it's going to be pretty complicated and a little on the confusing side. Watching The Wire, I wasn't too concerned about figuring out who was who and who did what to who seven episodes ago and what that was about and etc. I just sort of let it unfold and figured I would figure it out sooner or later. I guess reading a book is different; I feel like if I don't keep track of the characters and the plot, I'm going to have absolutely no idea what's going on. And I guess I don't like the book enough to not mind the possibility of going back and reading it all over again.

Also in Lush Life, I feel like I'm supposed to be trying to figure out who the killer was. In The Wire, you usually know who the killer is; you're just watching all the stuff that happens around that happen, and maybe if you're the sort of person who likes to try to guess what will happen next, trying to figure out which bodies are going to drop next.

The other possibility is that in Lush Life I'm supposed to know who the killer is and I just didn't get what the hell was going on.

Further, there's an indescribable quality about Lush Life where the author seems to think he's being really clever knowing all these little things about life on the Lower East Side and all the different disenfranchised groups of people who live there. Like some 24-year-old suburban kid who feels all in the know when he or she is like oh, don't go down that block, crackheads hang out down there. Except I'm not saying he's not knowledgable. So far as I can tell, he is. The tone just really annoys me. The Wire seems to be saying: there's a tragedy unfolding here that no one knows how to stop. Where Lush Life is saying: look how street I am.

I haven't decided whether I'm really reading this book or not. I'm 80 pages in.

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