John Dollar (Paperback)

Staff Pick Badge
John Dollar By Marianne Wiggins Cover Image
List Price: $15.99
Our Price: $15.95
(Save: $0.04 0%)
On Our Shelves Now
1 on hand, as of Mar 21 5:03am
7 on hand, as of Mar 21 4:33am
Downtown Brooklyn
2 on hand, as of Mar 21 5:03am

Staff Reviews

This insanely gorgeous novel was released the very same week that the Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against the author's husband (you're probably familiar with that event). Wiggins went into hiding with her husband and this book was (arguably) the fatwa's greatest casualty. It's easy to describe John Dollar as a gender-swapped Lord of the Flies - a group of girls marooned on an island off Burma in the 1920s descend into savagery and chaos - but that description does a deep disservice to the sensual beauty of Wiggins' prose, the sharpness of her colonialist critique, and the singularity of her island, which is more Shakespeare than Golding, incandescent and merciless.

— Maddie


From Marianne Wiggins, the award-winning author of Evidence of Things Unseen and Properties of Thirst delivers “a superb novel, hypnotic, disturbing, and good that most readers will devour it in one gulp” (The Washington Post Book World).

Charlotte Lewes, a young Briton newly widowed by the Great War, departs for colonial Burma in 1917 to escape the ruins of her life. As a schoolteacher in Rangoon she is rejuvenated by the sensuous Oriental climate, and she meets John Dollar, a sailor who becomes her passionate love and whose ill-fated destiny inextricably binds her to him.

On a festive seafaring expedition, the tightly knit British community confronts disaster in the shape of an earthquake and ensuing tidal wave. Swept overboard, Charlotte, John Dollar, and eight young girls who are Charlotte's pupils awake on a remote island beach. As they struggle to stay alive, their dependence on John overwhelms him, and an atmosphere of menace and doom builds, culminating in shocking and riveting scenes of both death and survival.

About the Author

Marianne Wiggins is the author of eight novels, including John Dollar and Evidence of Things Unseen, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award. She has won a Whiting Award, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, the Heidinger Kafka Prize, and was shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction. She lives in Venice, California. 

Praise For…

San Francisco Chronicle Richly imaginative...pure adventure.

The Washington Post Book World A superb novel, hypnotic, disturbing, and good that most readers will devour it in one gulp.

New York Newsday At her best the incantatory Marianne Wiggins goes beyond magical to sheer demonic possession.

The New York Times A powerful story that not only pulls you through to its final pages but also propels you back to the beginning again, where you find you want to follow her descent into hell a second time.

Los Angeles Times Book Review Marianne Wiggins' power is disjunctive, disruptive; she pounds the atoms of discourse until they split and go radioactive....Wiggins writes with a feverish brilliance...close to prophetic brilliance.

The Washington Post Book World Marianne Wiggins dares to make fictions that stand in the face of heart-cracking circumstance, fictions that, in fact, resound with hearts shattering.

Booklist Wiggins is one of those critically acclaimed authors whose books acquire passionate followings...who find passion to be a source of both salvation and gothic nightmare.

London Sunday Times Marianne Wiggins does not so much tell a story as make her reader live it.... She renews our sense of what prose fiction can be.

The New York Times Book Review In making us see her characters' humanity, she also compels us to acknowledge our shared yearning and sense of loss.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780671039554
ISBN-10: 0671039555
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: December 1st, 1999
Pages: 224
Language: English