RARA-AVIS: Price and Pelecanos

From: Carrie Pruett ( pruettc@hotmail.com)
Date: 24 Jan 2003

Kevin Burton Smith wrote:
>And Price's sharp, unerring use of dialogue and music throughout his
> >career to bring a character, a mood, a setting, to life just about has
> >to have influenced Pelecanos. If not, then these two guys fell out of
> >the same tree. If you like George, try Richard.

I'm getting in on this late, but for what it's worth - I attended a Price reading in DC last week, and as an unadvertised bonus, he was introduced by Pelecanos. He said that he had come "for the same reason, as all of you, because I'm a Richard Price fan," and said that as far as socially important psychological explorations of character (although he said it much more artfully than that), he put "Clockers" in the same category as other favorite novels - The Grapes of Wrath and the Brothers Karamazov.

So, yeah, I'd say he's a fan, and it's apparently mutual. Price commented that being around Pelecanos is his rare opportunity to spend time with someone who "shares all the same obsessions". In the passage that he read from "Samaritan," there was a reference to a character who had been in blaxploitation movies in the seventies. After listing a few real movies, Price stopped to look at Pelecanos and say "I was going to say "King Suckerman" (which brought a big laugh, this being a DC crowd).

Other Price fans who just happened to be in the audience were David Simon
(nonfiction author and writer/producer of the TV shows "Homicide," "The Corner," and "The Wire" - which Price also praised, particularly "The Wire"), and a woman I'm pretty sure was Laura Lippman.

Besides the stargazing aspect, I should add that Price is a terrific reader and (though I'm too broke to buy it right now), the book sounds great. I am in the middle of "Clockers" right now - saw the movie years ago, and thought it was fine, but the book has a richness in texture and detail (to say nothing of length) that just couldn't be captured on film. I'm trying to remember if the subplot about the movie star riding along with the cops was in the film - it sounds familiar, but I think it's possible it was ripped off and used in another film rather than this one.


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