I’ve just finished reading The Wanderers by Richard Price. I’d like to say that I was aware of this cult book (and film) but the embarrassing true story is that I just fell in love with the cover without knowing anything about the captivating content! And I’ve developed an alarming obsession with it… It’s a masterpiece.
It’s about gangs, teenagers, the mechanics of survival and finding some breathing space, the constant ebb and flow of questions you ask yourself as an adolescent, it’s about trying to secure your independence, growing up, unfulfilled desires and sex, the faint outlines of adulthood, violence and the Bronx seen as a beastly, monstrous and immoral New York neighbourhood. It is set in the early sixties, a cultural context I adore, and is extraordinarily well-written. I can’t stop thinking about the gang fight with the mute psychotic Irish midgets called Ducky Boys. Pure weird comedy! Oh, and the musical references which serve to illuminate the fiction are just perfect: Dion, The Shirelles etc.
The vernacular took some getting used to but it definitely repays the effort.
And I just found out that Richard Price also won a writing award for work on “The Wire”, one of my favourite series. Remember the episode entitled “Moral Midgetry”? He wrote it.
I took a picture of the cover I fell in love with.