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3 Dollars
     

3 Dollars

by Elliot Perlman
 
At once humorous and dramatic, Three Dollars is about Eddie, an honest, compassionate man who finds himself, at the age of thirty-eight, with a wife, a child, and three dollars. At any other time the world would have smiled on him. But this is the nineties and the world values other things. A brilliantly deft and poignant portrait of a man attempting to retain his

Overview

At once humorous and dramatic, Three Dollars is about Eddie, an honest, compassionate man who finds himself, at the age of thirty-eight, with a wife, a child, and three dollars. At any other time the world would have smiled on him. But this is the nineties and the world values other things. A brilliantly deft and poignant portrait of a man attempting to retain his humanity, his family, and his sense of humor in a corporate world.

Editorial Reviews

...[W]itty, erudite and exceptionally moving....Perlman...captures the pain of inevitable adulthood with such startling accuracy that it brings tears to the eyes.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
One of Australia's acclaimed young writers, first novelist Perlman explores the conundrums of conscience in one man's desire to understand his place as a husband, father and complicated human being amid late capitalism's ever-escalating pressure. Idealistic, intelligent Eddie Harnovey, a 38-year-old chemical engineer, tells his life story from boyhood through college years to the present. Eddie's narrative revolves largely around the women in his life: his childhood love, the beautiful, privileged Amanda, pops into his world every nine and a half years to bewilder him; his brilliant wife, Tanya, a passionate, quixotic academic, is plagued by bouts of depression; their precocious daughter, Abby, raises the stakes on every decision Eddie makes. After a soulful, progressive youth, Eddie has wound up working for a government agency in Melbourne, where he struggles to maintain his integrity and provide for his family in an increasingly hostile corporate world. When he loses his job, he finds himself with only three dollars to his name, about to lose his house and on the edge of terror. He gets survival lessons from an unexpected source, and then, after brute accident and violence signal the end for him, salvation occurs because of his own previous decency and kindness. Eddie's blend of self-deprecating wit, caustic social comment, spirited sensitivity and big heart carries the narrative in beautifully controlled passages that brim with insight, humor and feeling. His world is rich with the pleasures and pains of love, family, friendship and marriage, and the supporting characters in this prize-winning narrative are smart and likable; some are unabashedly erudite, facilitating entertaining philosophical debate. Perlman's sheer storytelling virtuosity gives this essentially domestic tale the narrative drive of a thriller and the unforgettable radiance of a novel that accurately reflects essential human values. (June) FYI: Melbourne's newspaper The Age awarded this novel its best fiction award for 1998, and named it as the Best Book of the Year. It also won the Best Book of the Year award from the Fellowship of Australian Writers. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Elizabeth Judd
Three Dollars is a quirky cautionary tale that feels like a wake-up call for prosperous young people everywhere.
The New York Times Book Review
Kirkus Reviews
Australian Perlman's debut is a slow-starter, but its final third bracingly chronicles one male's stunned, compelling flail along the slippery slope to unearned poverty. Named Book of the Year in 1998 by The Age (an Australian periodical), the tale of Eddie Harnovey plays out in Melbourne, though he's clearly an Everyman of the West. In an intelligent, bitterly funny voice, he recalls his college training and early liaisons with Amanda, the daughter of a wealthy magnate, and with Tanya, his future wife. His father, mother, and sister also appear, but only an account of an uncle's death resonates with considerable power. Perlman's prose (and his story) really take off, though, once the spadework of personal background has been performed. Eddie becomes an environmental scientist with the government and marries the alluring, brilliant Tanya. As she struggles to complete a Ph.D. in economic history, he's assigned to write an impact statement on the Spensers Gulf refinery, a hoary, illegal complex owned by Amanda's father. Eddie and Tanya acquire the expected burdens and responsibilities (a mortgaged house, an unreliable car, the divorce of a couple close to them) and a beloved daughter, Abby. In quick succession, Abby becomes ill, Tanya makes her contribution to her family's history of depression, and Eddie finds the project entangling him in a thicket of jealousies and resentments that ultimately close him out of a job. But the shallow story of a virtuous hero swallowed by a faceless culture of greed is magnificently interwoven with Eddie's domestic and social concerns, giving the novel a delightful richness and tragic power. Creating a sophisticated, subtle voice—at times comic,elegiac, or philosophic—that intelligently and un-ironically wrestles with the battlements of 20th-century fortunes, Perlman shows himself to be a gifted writer of considerable promise.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781878448880
Publisher:
MacAdam/Cage Publishing, Incorporated
Publication date:
06/28/1999
Edition description:
1999 Edition
Pages:
381
Product dimensions:
5.76(w) x 8.78(h) x 1.41(d)

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