“Unbelievably good... amazing scenes, heartbreaking scenes. The dialogue is so good in this book. I mean, people talk about the dialogue of Don DeLillo, how authentic it is… the dialogue in a book like this is better than the dialogue in Don DeLillo... Literary masterpieces in storytelling... Just fucking nailing it, again and again.”—Book Rants
“With deadpan humor, whip-smart insights and some damn fine sentences, Charles Farrell has written a classic chronicle of life in the twilight world, on par with masters of the genre like Damon Runyon, Mezz Mezzrow, Nat Hentoff and Nick Pileggi. A truly great read.”—Debby Applegate, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher, and author of Madam: The Life of Polly Adler, Icon of the Jazz-Age
"To scrape the heavens with your art, to plunge into the sordors of the world with your business: not even Charles Farrell can explain Charles Farrell. But he’s better qualified to try it than anybody else, and you owe it to yourself - I might even say it’s your duty as an American - to experience (Low)life. Elegant, unexpected, seeking always the real behind the real, Farrell’s prose hits like the precision fists of... blows like the wild trumpet of... I give up."—James Parker, The Atlantic
A world-class jazz pianist, Charles Farrell made his living working Mob clubs from the time he was a teenager in the 1960s. He later moved from music to the complex world of professional boxing, managing dozens of fighters, including former heavyweight champion Leon Spinks and former gang leader Mitch “Blood” Green, who famously went toe-to-toe with Mike Tyson—once in the ring and once in the street.
A fight-fixer and gangster, Farrell ran afoul of New York mobsters in the 1990s and retreated to the mountains of Puerto Rico, coming home only after an infamous boxing legend brokered his safe return.
Retired from the fight game, he returned to jazz and, among other collaborators, played frequently with his friend Ornette Coleman, the godfather of “Free Jazz” and one of the greatest musicians of the twentieth century.
(Low)life is a singular book by a singular man.