The Dream Merchant

A Novel

Fred Waitzkin

Thomas Dunne Books

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A powerful, exquisitely written tale about a charismatic yet morally ambiguous salesman

 

Jim can sell anything to anyone. Born into abject poverty, he uses street smarts, irresistible charms, and increasingly sophisticated schemes to pull himself up from door-to-door salesman to international mogul, the father of the pyramid scheme.

Jim becomes fabulously wealthy, owning estates and dining with royalty, but along the way he leaves an army of disillusioned customers broke and ruined in his wake. To escape his past, as well as government investigators, he leaves the country to become the leader of a lawless and predatory gold-mining operation in the Brazilian Amazon---an entirely lush, violent, dissolute life.

Worn down by age, and a lifetime of shady enterprise, his world suddenly changes when he meets Mara, a beautiful, young Israeli woman with dark ambitions of her own. In the process of their unlikely life together, Mara finds herself attracted to this ruined old man, as if his profligate history of glory and big money, and finally his weakness and proximity to death, creates an urgency and eroticism for her.

Narrated by an anonymous writer who is equally mesmerized and repulsed by Jim, Fred Waitzkin's The Dream Merchant is an unwavering look at the price of heedless ambition, the indissoluble bonds of male friendship, and the unsettling nature of love and sexuality.

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Book Excerpts

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1.
 
 
BIMINI, BAHAMAS, 1983
I met Jim in July of 1983 on a tropical island rife with offshore breezes and nights lusty with renewal and reckless hope. I came here to fish in the Gulf Stream each summer, to get time off my back.
We were the only two customers in the tiny End of the World Saloon, but I barely noticed him when I sat down at the sandy weathered bar.
Hello, Ebb Tide, said Cornelius, a heavyset bartender who wore gaudy gold rings from a half-dozen years earlier when he’d worked for Colombians off-loading bales of marijuana.

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Reviews

Praise for The Dream Merchant

“Very few writers can deliver a story with this much heart. It is a great novel.”

---Sebastian Junger

 

“Brutal, erotic, and poignant. A man’s search for self and home in a culture of illusion. Waitzkin’s propulsive narrative makes for compelling reading from first page to last. A triumph.”

---Gabriel Byrne

 

“Fred Waitzkin took me into a world of risk and violence and salvation that I was loath to relinquish.”

---Sebastian Junger

 

Searching for Bobby Fischer

 

“A gem of a book…[its] quest is beautifully resolved.”

---Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times

 

“A vivid, passionate, and disquieting book.”

---Martin Amis, The Times Literary Supplement

 

“I’ve seldom been so captivated by a book.”

---Tom Stoppard

Mortal Games

 

“Waitzkin captures better than anyone---including Kasparov himself in his own memoir

---the various sides of this elusive genius.”

---The New York Observer

 

The Last Marlin

 

“A remarkably ambitious and satisfying memoir.”

---The New York Times Book Review

 

“I am reminded once again…how terrifically gifted a writer Fred Waitzkin is. His new book is both deeply moving and joyous, both dark and celebratory.”

---Anita Shreve

 


Reviews from Goodreads

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About the Author

Fred Waitzkin

Fred Waitzkin is the author of Searching for Bobby Fischer, Mortal Games, The Last Marlin, and, presently, The Dream Merchant, his first novel. His articles and essays have appeared in numerous magazines, including Esquire, Forbes, New York magazine, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, Outside magazine, and Sports Illustrated. Waitzkin lives in New York City with his wife. He spends as much time as possible on the bridge of his old boat trolling baits off distant islands with his family.

Fred Waitzkin

Bonnie Waitzkin
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Available Formats and Book Details

The Dream Merchant
A Novel
Fred Waitzkin

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
St. Martin's Press
Thomas Dunne Books
March 2013
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781250011374
ISBN10: 125001137X
304 pages
$11.99

Hardcover

Hardcover
St. Martin's Press
Thomas Dunne Books
March 2013
Hardcover
ISBN: 9781250011367
ISBN10: 1250011361
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 304 pages
$24.99
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From The Publisher

Thomas Dunne Books

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