With his fourth novel set on America's mean streets, Richard Price lays claim to the title of urban laureate.
by Richard Price
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Richard Price's fictional North Jersey city of Dempsy has evolved, over the course of the novels Clockers (1992), Freedomland (1998), and Samaritan (2003), into a kind of Yoknapatawpha County of postindustrial blight. A vividly detailed mosaic of littered boulevards, dingy fast-food joints, and snake-pit housing projects, Dempsy is a jittery banlieue of not-so-benign neglect, a no-go zone for all but its mostly African-American residents, the police, and the customers who effortlessly cop drugs from the project kids without ever leaving their cars. Both "the city of my own imagination," in Price's words, and a place meant "to stand in for every urban mid-sized area in the country," Dempsy is a fusion of elements daringly invented and those meticulously drawn from life.
Like New York in the hackneyed song, Dempsy
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