Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I Blame It on The Wire.

I was really looking forward to reading Richard Price's Lush Life, having set it aside for several weeks as a reward for finishing work. I couldn't help but be disappointed. Nearly all of the characters felt flat and lifeless or resembled rehashed composites from any other book in the genre.

On the upside: it's a breeze to read.

It might also be that all of the tremendously positive praise the book received set my expectations way too high, or simply that The Wire raised the bar as to what a story of crime fiction could entail. I think I'll stick with the latter.

4 comments:

Patrick said...

Agree completely. I got a galley of this about a year and a half ago, and I was so excited to read it, because of The Wire, because of his screenwriting (I'm a big fan of his portion of New York Stories, too). It's so flat and lifeless. His dialog, which is supposedly what he's brilliant at, felt stagey and dull. Easily the most disappointing book I'd read in a while. People say to try Clockers, but I'm a skeptic now.

On the flip side, Homicide, by David Simon, holds up very well. A terrific read, and there's so much in the book that informs the experience of watching The Wire.

Eric Obenauf said...

I'll have to check out Homicide.

The other thing that The Wire ruined for me was the movie Traffic. When I first saw Traffic I had thought that it was "gritty." Or something. Now it just feels like old hat.

Scott said...

The best "reading rewards" I've enjoyed in the last few months have been:

1. Tom Disch's ABOUT THE SIZE OF IT (poems) and "The Voyage of the Proteus" (novella)

2. Pynchon's INHERENT VICE (the only novel he's written besides VINELAND which is a complete pleasure to read)

3. New Library of America edition of Cheever's collected short fiction and rarely-available essays

4. Wurlitzer's THE DROP EDGE OF YONDER

In no particular order.

Personally, I never got into The Wire. But I seem to be alone.

Scott

Patrick said...

Eric,
The Wire has completely ruined most cop movies for me. After you've seen The Wire, how can you see something like The Departed and not think it's just actors dancing around in costumes?