cover image Lush Life

Lush Life

Richard Price, , read by Bobby Cannavale. . Macmillan Audio, $44.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-4272-0320-5

With a perfect ear for dialogue, Bobby Cannavale sounds like he grew up on the same patch of New York's Lower East Side that Price so effectively captures. It's a neighborhood in the midst of gentrification where an unplanned late-night murder of a truculent yuppie bartender by a teenage wannabe gangsta affects the lives of an assortment of disparate Manhattanites. Chief among them are Matty Clark, a dedicated and honorable detective, and Eric Cash, a restaurant manager temporarily accused of committing the crime. As Clark, Cannavale adds just the right mixture of weariness and frustration. He adds dimension and surprisingly subtle touches to all of Price's already rich characters—Clark's patently insincere superior officer, Cash's humane employer, a smarmy actor and, most importantly, the sad, angry, poetry-scribbling killer and the victim's omnipresent guilt-ridden, wraithlike father. Better yet, Cannavale delivers Price's sometimes mind-boggling slanguages (including cop-speak, Ebonics and a sort of restaurateur rap) as smoothly, effortlessly and clearly as an expertly trained Old Vic thespian interprets lines from the Bard. Simultaneous release with the FSG hardcover (Reviews, Jan. 21). (Mar.)