THREE DOLLARS book cover   Three Dollars
Elliot Perlman

Cover photograph by Maikka Trupp

Dustjacket synopsis:

"Three Dollars is a brilliantly deft portrait of a man attempting to retain his senseof humour in grim and pitiless times: times of downsizing, outsourcing and privatising. It is about the legacy of Thatcherism and its effects on people and their relatonships.

"It is about us, now."

"Its anger and its passion mark the arrival of a writer of genuine ability." - Sydney Morning Herald
"...[Three Dollars] gradually builds into a study of a whole generation, a sad, angry, disconcertingly funny reflection of the way we live now." - Times Literary Supplement
"Perlman is a marvellous storyteller" - Observer
"A brilliant fictional commentary on the human consequences of economic rationalism. Verdict: Encore! Bravo! More please" - Sunday Herald Sun
"It is impossible not to care what happens to Eddie, Tanya his wide, and Abby, their adorable daughter...Perlman is echoing Auden's cry, 'We must love one another or die'" - Time Out
"A compelling story, a great drama, even a great tragedy" - Sunday Age
"Few novels ever dare to fuse emotional and economic life with the passionate intelligence of this one" - Independent

First Paragraph:

Every nine and a half years I see Amanda. This is not a rule. It does not have to happen but it does. It has happened four times that I have seen her every nine and a half years which tends to make it more of a rule than an exception. But each time it is always and everywhere exceptional. Most recently was today. I had three dollars.

As children we were put in the same class at school although she was a year younger than me, and has been ever since. It was part of a pilot programme to have the brightest children from the year below put into a composite class with the brightest children of the year above and me. I don't know how I got into that class because I had not demonstrated a particular capacity for anything much. It was not that I was not interested in things but rather that I was interested in too many things. This interest in everything was completely internal to me, without external manifestations, and so went unnoticed by all adults except my parents, who were worried by it. I would just sit around and think; at least that's the way I remember it. Perhaps Amanda remembers it differently. I couldn't be bothered running around or even making much trouble. There were too many things to contemplate for me to be tempted into running at speed from A to B in order to get there sooner. While we were being taught about trains or mammals, I was wondering how it was the teacher managed to have the same smell every day, a musky smell that announced him long after he had gone and always would.

From the Picador paperback edition, 2000.

This novel was the winner of the 1998 Age Book of the Year Award, and was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award in 1999.

This page and its contents are copyright © 2001 by Perry Middlemiss, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

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Last modified: May 8, 2001.