Design of the Week | Richard Price and The Night Of
We've been watching HBO's new series, The Night Of, which began as a slow-drip police procedural and evolved into a provocative noir mystery. The show was spearheaded by Richard Price, who wrote for The Wire, but is best known as a novelist, being the author of Clockers (which became a Spike Lee joint), Lush Life, and most recently The Whites ("Price writing as Harry Brandt"). I'm not going to extrapolate about how silly it is to write something under a pen name and then have both that pen name and real name on the cover (though the pen name much smaller). I think we can all agree that it's pointless and wasteful of a perfectly good pen name.
Lush Life was one of the biggest books of 2008, coming out in the spring around the time that we released The Drop Edge of Yonder, Rudy Wurlitzer's first novel in a quarter-century. A lot of folks (Michiko Kakutani) were buzzing about Price's skill at writing dialogue, and the realistic plight of characters in the book, perhaps since it was inspired by the real-life mugging and murder of Nicole duFresne in New York City. On the book's Wikipedia page, the book is presented as "a contemporary social novel," which is appropriate. It strives for big things, but without any actual impact.
Like The Night Of, Lush Life is a slow-drip police procedural, and while the first couple episodes suggested that HBO's series might follow suit—progressing without substantial delivery or impact—the subsequent episodes have been well-plotted, charged with mystery and possibility. Also, the cast is phenomenal. You should check it out.