More on Richard Price from the NYRB

Michael Chabon opines on Richard Price in the New York Review of Books. As usual regarding that publication, the essay is too long and digressive, but it’s worth reading anyway. A sample:

Lush Life is a good, worthwhile, and in many ways satisfying novel. No matter how routinely and highly praised it may be, Price’s ear for dialogue, his ability to capture and reproduce the rhythm, tone, and evanescent vocabulary of urban life, cannot be overpraised: with all due respect to Elmore Leonard, Price is our best, one of the best writers of dialogue in the history of American literature. Resorting with miraculous infrequency to the use of dialect spellings and other orthographical tricks, Price gets his characters’ words to convey subtle nuances of class, occupation, education, even geographical gradations of neighborhood, while also using them as a powerful vehicle for the transmission, in fits and starts, evasions and doublings back, of their interior lives. He is a perfect magpie for slang, and like its predecessors this novel is rich in fascinating bits of law-enforcement and street-criminal argot.

I’m on the record praising Lush Life. I still hold that Leonard is the better dialog writer, however, although Chabon’s position is entirely defensible. And I also hold that you don’t need to spell “dialog,” “dialogue.”

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