"A fascinating look at a future society where racial mixing is mandatory"
- San Jose Mercury News
In a nation where the government mandates the ethnic blending of the populace, a man fathers a son who is unmixed. One-hundred percent white. A whole. Also known as a “three-cent.”
The man tries disposing of the newborn before it can be implanted with a tag, but the newborn survives and the man is imprisoned for the attempt.
Decades later and after a few more stints in prison, the man finds himself friendless and dirt-poor and living in probationary housing with his ten-year old mixed daughter, Cline, and together they struggle to carve out an existence in a single room, battling to grow past its walls, battling each other. The man spends his days in a constant state of work: working on keeping the girl in line, working as a dish-hand in a local restaurant, and working on building some form of relationship with his now-grown son.
Everything changes when a woman from West Africa moves in next door, a woman who “brings a conjuring” along with her. The woman dust-devils into their lives and pulls them into hers, offering Cline a glimpse of a mother’s love and offering the man a job-—an illegal job, one that starts with a needle and an unknown drug. When the man accepts her offer, he becomes embroiled in a criminal undertaking that threatens to consume everything he has, and he must unravel the woman’s true intentions quickly or he may lose another child.
Three-cent is a story of a man in the extreme minority, a man who does the best he can to get by, a man who tries to make amends for his many faults. Unsparing in its delivery, Three-cent is a validation of our ability to conquer our worst selves, to defend those we love best, and to reassemble our fragments into a whole.