Saturday, February 28, 2015

Richard Price

Richard Price's eighth novel, a New York cop story called The Whites, is being published under a transparent pen name: “Richard Price writing as Harry Brandt.”

From the author's Q & A with Dan Slater for The Daily Beast:

When James Wood reviewed your last novel, Lush Life, he wrote that you have greater ambitions than your genre can accommodate. Are you a genre writer?

No. I think what he’s saying, and what I feel myself, is that I slightly ghettoize myself by continuously writing about cops. But I feel like a literary writer. Not to be grandiose, but would you call Theodore Dreiser, after An American Tragedy, a crime writer? Would you call Dostoyevsky a crime writer?

When you’re looking at a huge phenomenon—such as the crack epidemic and relationships between black kids and cops; or the the amorphousness of the Lower East Side—how do you write about that? It’s a panorama. But where’s your story? A crime, and the investigation that follows, gives you a spine for your panorama, a way into the world. The nature of investigation pulls in so many disparate people: lawyers, witnesses, families, victims, killers. It’s a beautifully built-in way to show all the things you’re fascinated by, but in a pertinent way to the story.

What’s a great crime-centric novel that’s not a genre book?

George V. Higgins’s first novel, The Friends of Eddie Coyle. Higgins was a former prosecutor in Boston. The novel was about the Boston underworld. It was a small story about small people. But it was so dead-on. The guy had...[read on]
Learn about Richard Price's five most essential books.

--Marshal Zeringue