"The Eight-Dollar Bill" is a collection of tales that explores human isolation and displacement accented by the backdrop of magic and mystery. The characters are often cynical and disenchanted while harboring deeply suppressed longings. They are guided by strange events and circumstances that ultimately transform their world-views. Each story provides a window into an ordinary life at the moment it slips into the extraordinary. The common thread of loneliness and loss runs throughout the collection, explored with multiple points of view and interconnected plots that link characters and places. The title story follows a divorced, detached banker who is jolted out of his monotonous routine when a peculiar bank note becomes his new obsession. Young, irreverent newlyweds learn more about their solemn commitment when they come face to face with their future selves at a mysterious sea-side hotel in "Honeymoon Suite". Two sisters traveling home from their father's funeral must examine their own personal barriers in "Black Ice" when a mysterious stranger offers a glimpse into their father's memories. "Plywood Kingdom" preludes "Honeymoon Suite" when the prospect of marriage forces Lenny and Elsie to carve a separate space from their long-time friend and roommate, Trey. Concluding the collection is "The Ruined Grove", about a troubled teenager who struggles with his mixed ethnicity and dangerous temper. He meets a little girl who can manipulate reality, but only within the boundaries of an abandoned orange grove. The stories take each character out of his or her comfort zone to a place where convictions are tested and often demolished by the shifting margins of dreams, visions and memory. From debilitating self-denial to the bitter longing for a sense of identity, the themes present in the collection always end in the subtle placement of hope and triumph.
Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Stiles-Tardieu, Wendy, "The Eight-Dollar Bill" (2008). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 6105.