hydrohotel.net - a Richard Price webspace


Richard Price writes fiction as R J Price. His books include the linked short stories A Boy in Summer (2002), and the novel The Island (Two Ravens Press, 2010), about a father, a daughter, and what looks like the end of their world. Novelist Toby Litt describes it as "Understated yet devastating, controlled yet unpredictable – The Island is a story of rare qualities that many writers aim for and few achieve. Read it – it’ll be one of the most beautiful nightmares you’ll ever have." Bill Broady, author of Swimmer, comments: "Richard Price explores the intersecting worlds of children and adults with a wild joy and sadness. Here Price’s lyric gifts are refined further towards the quintessence. A well-nigh perfect short novel."

The Island

Characters and events in A Boy in Summer, The Island, and the poetry collection Greenfields are linked. Price's ambition appears to be to form a kind of Hardy's Wessex from the 'greenfields' of Renfrewshire, where dramatic human stories intersect and collide in the villages and towns of west Scotland. A contemporary parallel is with Alan Warner's work centred on a fictionalisation of Oban, "The Port", and featuring the characters Morvern Callar and the young women of The Sopranos.

R J Price is represented by The McKernan Agency for his fiction.

A Boy in Summer

A Boy in Summer

A collection of linked short stories which gradually build up to become an "elliptical novel", a layered evocation of a Scottish community from the 1960s to the present day. Highlights include a peculiar game with a BMW, a hapless kidnap attempt, a snowy journey towards a honeymoon, love on the day of LiveAid, and, at the heart of the book, delicate recreations of childhood. This is one of the books in which the Hydro Hotel appears, the location "Renfrewshwhere".

"With R. J. Price there is a rare and precious stasis, a sense of otherness and the gift of insinuation. Of leaving more out than is on the page. Ghosts invisible; ever present. In the best of the stories - which are exquisite - such as "A Room Full of Botticellis", "The Last Day" and "Answers to an Interview", the detail illuminates character. Age range, too, is beautifully handled, as are relationships, the unspoken bonds between sons and hero fathers, between the older and younger self, the melt of time, the lure of place. There's a sense that these stories have been gestated over a period of years. The west of Scotland's small town essence, its urban borderlands of the mind, have rarely been better brought to life or better mapped in shades of loss." - Tom Adair, The Scotsman

"Richard Price is first and foremost a poet - that much is apparent from the opening lines of the first story in this glittering collection. As the pub empties, and the bright young things totter boozily to their cars, Price homes in on the exquisite detail: the clashing perfumes and aftershaves of the men and women; the pitiful items lined up on a car roof, as a man, rather the worse for wear, searches through numerous pockets for his car keys; the scents and sounds of the car park as the vehicles pull away. In a later story, he astounds the reader with an image of a mallard as 'a fop in his green silk scarf'. Such flashes of genius are startlingly unexpected in the middle of a story about a night at the pub, or an unplanned pregnancy. All the stories are memories - many, but not all, are interlinked, so the reader enjoys a frisson of recognition as familiar characters pop up in different situations. Many of the stories are about the Ford family, told from the point of view of the younger son, John. John is in awe of his swaggering self-confident elder brother, Alan; he is at his happiest when he is allowed to go raspberry-picking with him, not bringing up the rear as usual, but actually walking at Alan's side. These flickers of memory from one summer are occasionally juxtaposed - the violently purple Capri of 'Racing Green' is echoed in the burgundy E-type of 'Just Right'. Just as Ford's wife hoped for a car in racing green, rather than this purple monstrosity, so Angela says of the Jag, 'It would have been better in racing green.' Price's stories are as intricately woven and as brightly coloured as a complex tapestry, pattern recalling pattern as the summer wears on. Most of his tales are set on the west coast of Scotland, but his poet's vision does not desert him when he shifts his attention to a hairdressing salon or a squat in London. Price has the enviable gift of taking a bizarre situation (such as the honeymoon car breaking down in a blizzard in 'After a Wedding') and rendering it both hilarious and poetically hypnotic at the same time." - Kirkus UK

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