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Lush Life….by Richard Price

August 21, 2008

First, let’s talk about the cover.  I know it’s hard to see with the small pic below.  A bunch of downtown hipsters crowded, lined up outside some upscale, nicely lit, happening joint in New York City.  Downtown—could be SoHo, Tribeca, Gramercy, Union Square.  But it’s the Lower East Side, another outpost of the gentry, reestablishing a beachhead in the place I was before (I hear a bit from Hotel California). The sort of place twenty years ago, you didn’t want to go.   But now, it’s not so bad.  These kids, artists and Wall Street traders, and money, have moved back.

The hipsters are all out of focus, as twenty-somethings frequently are.  And the photo covers many of the types and emotions: the entwined couple (sex), white guy sitting on the sidewalk with some band t-shirt and a flat-brimmed hip hop hat on crooked (rock ‘n roll); a stoner staring dimly into the camera (drugs); guys jiving and bullshitting, being guys; couple of laughing white chicks near the front of the line—carefree, flirty.   Then there’s one guy who doesn’t make the front part of the cover, and thus, not on the jpg shown below.  He’s on the spine of the book.  I suspect that he is Eric Cash, one of the main protagonists in the book.  (Let’s see—is that a riffy sort of pun on Mr. Price’s name?)  He’s alone, black blazer, blue shirt, bright belt buckle, a  little older then the rest of the crowd.  Looks into the camera confidently but with a bit of desperation.  After all, he’s seen more, he’s already tasted failure…the others on the cover haven’t.

Everybody’s young, white with money…they’ve all come back to the city, back to the city their ancestors struggled to escape from some generations ago.  And now they’re living the high life with money, weed, blow, staying out too late…and getting caught.  Like Price, the voice of experience, I’m looking at these characters from a vantage point of twice their age.  Makes you think.  Kids.

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From → Lush Life

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