Writing New York: Posts from the Boroughs and Beyond — 2008-2011 Rotating Header Image

Hipsters, Housing, and Homicide

When Richard Price talks about his book, Lush Life, a smile rarely crosses his face. Some may say he is so passionate while talking about the novel, that his description takes all his concentration. To a New Yorker, it is obvious that he is using the ubiquitous New York sarcasm. There is something charming about Price, even though it seems like you are wasting his time when you ask him a question. He is a writer with a distinct voice that cannot be mistaken. His style is harsh, straightforward, and sounds like street talk.

Price has an interesting writing style. He researches by hanging out in hole-in-the-wall places and learning from drug dealers and bartenders facts that the police would be embarrassed to admit. In a recent interview, Price commented on writing by saying, “I’d rather do anything than write. That’s why you call it researching, or in the field.”  He calls writing, “like being stuck in a phone booth with yourself.” I like Price’s way of treating writing like a hobby. It is refreshing to see someone who can approach writing a story like it is a homework assignment he can get to later.

Luckily, Price decided to join our Baruch community for a semester. He will be teaching a select few students who will work together with him and learn from him. In Lush Life , Price lends his views on the gentrification of the Lower East Side and brings us into the multiple layers of the complex region. Following a small shooting in the LES, Price goes on a journey that includes him in the many social niches of the area. His commentary on hipsters, housing, and homicide seems to all fall into place in Lush Life.

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