Lange, Richard 1961–
Lange, Richard 1961–
Born 1961, in Oakland, CA. Education: Graduate of University of Southern California, Los Angeles.
Briefly taught English in Barcelona, Spain; Larry Flynt Publications, Los Angeles, CA, began as copy editor, became managing editor of RIP(heavy metal music magazine); textbook production editor;Radio & Records(radio industry trade magazine), managing editor.
Two Ed Moses fiction writing grants, University of Southern California, Los Angeles.
Dead Boys: Stories, Little, Brown (New York, NY), 2007.
Author's work represented in anthologies, including Best American Mystery Stories of 2004. Contributor to literary journals, including New Delta Review.
Richard Lange was born in California, and after living in several towns, he moved to Los Angeles to attend film school. He worked in magazine and book publishing, including for Larry Flynt, and became managing editor of Radio & Records. Lange's first published story appeared in 1994, and over the next decade, he wrote the stories that would become his first collection,Dead Boys: Stories. In speaking with an interviewer for SlushPile.net, Lange said that he was first inspired by the work of Raymond Carver, one of the notable writers to whom he has been compared. He said that the stories he wrote at night were rejected as many as fifteen times, and that after each rejection he would rewrite to make them tighter.
The SlushPile.net interviewer commented: " Dead Boys features some pretty impressive blurbs from writers such as Daniel Woodrell, Chris Offutt, and T.C. Boyle. And those blurbs refer to Denis Johnson, Raymond Carver, and Tobias Wolff." Lange replied: "I couldn't believe that writers I admired would take time out of their busy lives to read my book and comment on it. It was such an honor, one of the greatest things about being published. In the space of a few weeks, I went from having no writers as friends to having a ton of them that I owe huge favors to."
The protagonists in the stories are native to Los Angeles or have come from other places seeking better lives. Most are young men who work at low-wage jobs and who have a mixed bag of problems with alcohol, drugs, debt, and women. The stories are told in the first person, and all but two are in the present tense. "Lange writes about men walking a razor's edge in these twelve stories—and most of the time, the razor draws blood," commented an E! Online reviewer.
Lange's characters often lead dual lives, their public lives, and the ones they live in secret, giving the stories "a Lynchian two-faced quality," noted Matthew Fiander for PopMatters. In "Bank of America," an otherwise respectable man robs banks so that he can buy his "American dream"—a house, a car, and a Subway franchise. The wife in "Culver City" is opposed by her husband when she plans to use photos of celebrities having sex to make a great deal of money. Other characters include a stalker, a failed actor, and a man who is haunted by the specter of a wife who committed suicide and killed their daughter. A Kirkus Reviews contributor concluded a review by writing: "The men who people this collection may engage in macho posturing, but their author never does. Superlative short fiction, and an arresting debut."
Los Angeles Times Book Review contributor Joshua Henkin wrote: "Lange's heroes are reckless and feckless, but they have their own brand of integrity, and they adhere to their own moral code." Henkin found Lange's style to be reminiscent of Denis Johnson. He concluded by writing: "‘Promising’ is a word bestowed on too many young writers, but in this case it's apt. Dead Boys marks the emergence of a compelling new talent."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, June 1, 2007, Joanne Wilkinson, review of Dead Boys: Stories, p. 35.
Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2007, review of Dead Boys.
Los Angeles Magazine, August, 2007, Robert Ito, review of Dead Boys, p. 98.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, August 17, 2007, Joshua Henkin, review of Dead Boys.
Publishers Weekly, May 14, 2007, review of Dead Boys, p. 30.
Beatrice.com,http://www.beatrice.com/ (October 3, 2007), Scott, review of Dead Boys.
E! Online,http://www.eonline.com/ (November 19, 2007), review of Dead Boys.
PopMatters,http://www.popmatters.com/ (November 19, 2007), Matthew Fiander, review of Dead Boys.
Richard Lange Home Page,http://www.richlange.com (November 19, 2007).
SlushPile.net,http://www.slushpile.net/ (October 29, 2007), "Slowhand Quickly Ascends the Bestseller List," interview.