Maybe this tres gorgeous Chuck Sperry poster for next week’s Central Park Summerstage reading by Richard Price and Charles Bock is just the kind of thing I ought to be thinking about for my next round of book appearances. I mean . . . god damn.
I don’t know Bock’s work, but I’ve got a complete set of Price first editions on the shelf behind me — legacy of an eager one-sided reading relationship that began when Price’s debut novel, The Wanderers, came out while I was in high school. He floundered around a bit after that attention-getting book, but even at his most unfocused he was a hugely entertaining writer. Then Price reinvented himself as a screenwriter on good, overlooked flicks like the Al Pacino flick Sea of Love, and used the money and cred to head to Jersey City and do the street-level research that inspired Clockers, the novel that put him back on the map.
When David Simon started working on The Wire for HBO, he had the enormous good sense to bring in a triumvirate of top notch novelists for script work: first George Pelecanos, then Dennis Lehane and finally Price, who also did some screen time in the third season as a creative writing teacher giving classes to prisoners. Price’s latest novel, Lush Life, is a marvel, and if I can manage it I’ll be in Central Park for his reading.