During the space of a day in Rome in 1933, a ten-lira coin passes through the hands of nine people--including an aging artist, a prostitute, and a would-be assassin of Mussolini. The coin becomes the symbol of contact between human beings, each lost in private passions and nearly impenetrable solitude. A Coin in Nine Hands has . . . passages that move close to poetry and a story that belongs in both literature and history.--Doris Grumbach, Los Angeles Times Book Review
What lingers at the end of A Coin in Nine Hands is the shadowiness and puppetlike vagueness of the Dictator, and the compelling specificity of the so-called 'common people' revolving all around him.--Anne Tyler, The New Republic
Within a few pages we have met half the major characters in this haunting, brilliantly constructed novel. . . . The studied perfection, the structural intricacy and brevity remind one of Camus. Yet by comparison, Yourcenar's prose is lavish, emotional and imagistic.--Cynthia King, Houston Post
Transcends its specific time and place to become a portrait of vividly delineated characters caught in the vise of a tragically familiar political situation.--Publisher's Weekly
Best known as the author of Memoirs of Hadrian and The Abyss, Marguerite Yourcenar (1903-87) achieved countless literary honors and was the first woman ever elected to the Academie Francaise.