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Three Paperback – July 29, 2003

22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Sexy, moving and well-written...will enthrall as well as excite" -- Kevin Baker, author of Paradise Alley "In this terrific debut, Julie Hilden does what few writers can or dare to: She has written an erotic, truly sexy thriller. 3 is smart, sexy, strange, and impossible to put down" -- Dani Shapiro, author of Family History --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Julie Hilden graduated from Harvard, and earned a law degree at Yale and an MA in creative writing from Cornell.  After several years of practicing law, she has now turned to writing full time. Her regular law column appears in FindLaw.com’s on-line magazine Writ and on CNN’s Law Center, and she also has written for Slate magazine. Her first book, a memoir entitled The Bad Daughter, was published by Algonquin Books. She lives in New York City.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Plume (July 29, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452284430
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452284432
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,793,250 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Emma on September 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book was not what I expected at all. The writing is compelling and it touches on some really dark subjects with an unexpected warmth and dimension.
This book is not really about threesomes, nor would I call it erotica although I see that it's listed as such and the bookjacket seems to give that idea.
This story is about the darkness inside of people, the places that exist beneath the surface, lurking in the shadows, waiting to unfurl.
While it seems at times that the darkness lies inside of Ilan, and he surely has some, it's really with Maya. Maya who loves and yet hates what Ilan is to her, what he evokes from her, the depths to which she's allowed herself to go because of him and yet when he's gone, the darkness isn't and she's left to confront and process her own part in the trauma he's wrought in her life.
The book is beautiful in a completely unique way, the writing is wonderful, the story is haunting and gut wrenching. It's an amazing and worthy read.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 19, 2003
Format: Paperback
Easily the best book of the summer.
3 is the story of a relationship gone awry. Maya meets Ilan in college. They fall into a love that is both beautiful and terrifying and later marry. But the marriage is predicated on a bargain: Ilan will not give up other women, and Maya agrees to the infidelity as long as she is present. 3 then dissects the ramifications of this love. It is the story of what we will cede to another, what we will risk, and what we put ourselves through to find out who we really are.
The beauty of 3 is that it's a clean story with complex ramifications. Where so much modern fiction takes some convoluted (even tortuous) plot and deals with it superficially, Hilden takes a fundamental matter and unearths its every element. And this, will keep your heart beating fast, and your fingers turning pages late into the night.
I should say something about Hilden's writing as well. Hilden makes you feel what the characters feel. You are no longer reading about the characters, you are there with them, experiencing their lives with them, seeing the world as they do. For instance, there's a surgery scene in the book that when I read it I felt the same queasiness as if the surgery had happened to me. Hilden's powerful, even fearsome, writing will stay with you. So much so that the book becomes a part of your own past.
At once shocking and subtle, 3 is a must read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By CoffeeGurl HALL OF FAME on July 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
Julie Hilden's Three is described as a "modern-day Story of O." I will have to agree with the aforementioned comparison. This is one of the darkest stories of love, sex and obsession that I've read in quite a long time! When Maya discovers Ilan's infidelity, she makes the conscious decision to allow him to engage in all sorts of exploits with other women. However, there's a catch: Maya has to take part of said exploits. The threesomes are as tantalizing as they are disturbing, and Maya is reluctant to admit that she's relished the experiences. But then Ilan becomes intimidated with Maya's thriving journalistic career and the sexual games become dangerous - possibly fatal. The novel's disarming twists give a whole new meaning to the word "threesome." The ending floored me.

Three is a unique and sinister love story. The comparison with Story of O is well deserved. There are elements of S&M in this novel - and said elements are the undertones of the story. Also, the character development is excellent - Ilan and Maya are two of the most interesting characters ever written. This is a drop-everything-you're-doing-and-read-this-in-one-sitting novel. I savored the last pages with gusto because I hated to see it end. After all, erotic/psychological thrillers this good are scarcely written these days. Hilden is a great author and I look forward to reading her other books with utmost anticipation.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jeannine H. Rice on March 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
I liked this book, particularly the first two thirds, which sucked me into the story and kept me interested. I found the characters to be quite fascinating... but I kept wondering why the wife allowed herself to go down this obviously perilous road. ... If you do things that are bad for you, don't be surprised when unfortunate consequences follow. ... But anyway, it was quite compelling to watch her go down that road, kind of like the inability to avert your eyes from an accident scene.
My problem with the book surfaced in the last third, when I thought the plot veered off into the completely unbelievable. I was waiting for an explanation as to why the husband did what he did, and why the wife did what she did, but instead the plot took a fantastic turn and I found it disappointing. Kind of like a movie that ends with an incredible but unbelievable final sequence that betrays its more thoughtful beginning and middle.
Ms. Hilden is technically a very gifted writer; obviously she's smart and extremely accomplished in her life. (Her legal columns are very good, too). But what I gleaned from this book and her other book (a memoir entitled "the Bad Daughter") and from her long history of romances with less-than-desirable partners, is that her ego needs some serious TLC!
Nevertheless, the book is good for anybody who wants to read about a person's descent into some very self-destructive behavior. Or for somebody that is into being sexually humiliated; it might make a person think twice about going there.
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