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Freedomland
RICHARD PRICE

Freedomland by Richard Price
79 reviews (1998) (672p)
LA Times Book Prize for Fiction

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Book Description
The celebrated author of Clockers delivers his most compelling and accomplished novel to date.

A white woman, her hands gashed and bloody, stumbles into an inner-city emergency room and announces that she has just been carjacked by a black man. But then comes the horrifying twist: Her young son was asleep in the back seat, and he has now disappeared into the night.

So begins Richard Price's electrifying new novel, a tale set on the same turf--Dempsey, New Jersey--as Clockers. Assigned to investigate the case of Brenda Martin's missing child is detective Lorenzo Council, a local son of the very housing project targeted as the scene of the crime. Under a white-hot media glare, Lorenzo launches an all-out search for the abducted boy, even as he quietly explores a different possibility: Does Brenda Martin know a lot more about her son's disappearance than she's admitting?

Right behind Lorenzo is Jesse Haus, an ambitious young reporter from the city's evening paper. Almost immediately, Jesse suspects Brenda of hiding something. Relentlessly, she works her way into the distraught mother's fragile world, befriending her even as she looks for the chance to break the biggest story of her career.

As the search for the alleged carjacker intensifies, so does the simmering racial tension between Dempsey and its mostly white neighbor, Gannon. And when the Gannon police arrest a black man from Dempsey and declare him a suspect, the animosity between the two cities threatens to boil over into violence. With the media swarming and the mood turning increasingly ugly, Lorenzo must take desperate measures to get to the bottom of Brenda Martin's story.

At once a suspenseful mystery and a brilliant portrait of two cities locked in a death-grip of explosive rage, Freedomland reveals the heart of the urban American experience--dislocated, furious, yearning--as never before. Richard Price has created a vibrant, gut-wrenching masterpiece whose images will remain long after the final, devastating pages.


From the Hardcover edition.


Amazon.com Review
Actor Joe Morton takes on all the roles of this audiocassette's multicultural cast of characters. His grasp of New Jersey accents, dialects, and inflections is flawless, imbuing all of Richard Price's carefully drawn characters with a gritty sense of authenticity. Morton's crisp, controlled narration propels the story forward with taut, edgy suspense. As he reads, he glides effortlessly from his role as narrator to those of the main characters. Single mother Brenda Martin speaks with a breathy, stammering, and truly fear-permeated voice, while the introspective African American detective, Lorenzo Council, has a clipped, businesslike manner of speaking. Morton takes equal care in bringing to life Price's minor characters, whether portraying a no-nonsense, white New Jersey housewife whose voice has been made coarse by too many cigarettes, or an African American Muslim preacher whose commanding bass voice isn't quite powerful enough to spur his community to action. Morton's greatest achievement, however, is his characterization of Council's jaded, middle-aged white partner, Bump. When Morton slips into the role of Bump, his growling, Jersified Brooklynese is so startling, it almost seems that a life-long resident of Hoboken has stepped into the recording studio and appropriated Morton's microphone. The recording is slightly marred by occasional intrusions of synthesized music that are, for the most part, superfluous and distracting, but Morton's acting abilities and vocal agility are more than sufficient to keep any listener riveted. (Running time: four hours, four cassettes) --Elizabeth Laskey


Other Award Winning Books by Richard Price
The Whites by Richard Price
610 reviews (2015) (352p) (NYT100) (MK Top)
Read Reviews | Visit this book's Amazon.com page
Lush Life by Richard Price
272 reviews (2008) (464p) (PF) (LATimes) (TIME) (Amazon)
Read Reviews | Visit this book's Amazon.com page
Clockers by Richard Price
36 reviews (1992) (608p) (NBCCA)
Read Reviews | Visit this book's Amazon.com page

Richard Price Award Stats
Major Prize* Nominations 2  
Unique Books Nominated for a Major Prize* 2  
Pulitzer Prize Wins 0  
Pulitzer Prize Nominations 0  
National Book Critics Circle Award Wins 0  
National Book Critics Circle Award Nominations 1 Clockers ·  
National Book Award Wins 0  
National Book Award Nominations 0  
Man Booker Prize Wins 0  
Man Booker Prize Nominations 0  
PEN/Faulkner Award Wins 0  
PEN/Faulkner Award Nominations 1 Lush Life ·  

*Major Prize = Pulitzer Prize, National Book Critics Circle Award, National Book Award, Man Booker Prize, and PEN/Faulkner Award

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