Three-Martini Lunch - Chapter 1 – 4 Summary & Analysis

Suzanne Rindell
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Summary

In Chapter 1, Three-Martini Lunch begins with Cliff Nelson, one of the novel’s three main characters, reflecting on how Greenwich Village in 1958 was a “madman’s paradise” (1). Cliff, a recent Columbia University dropout, has been cut off by his wealthy family in an attempt to teach him self-reliance. He now lives in a dirty, one-room studio apartment in New York City’s Greenwich Village, where he spends his days drinking, smoking marijuana, talking about literature, and partying with a group of young “arty types,” Swish, Bobby, and Pal (3).

We learn that Cliff is an aspiring writer. He is paralyzed with nerves about an upcoming poetry reading, so he turns to whiskey. Intoxicated at the reading, he passes out on stage midway through his reading. He wakes up at Swish’s apartment with the rest of the “gang” (3). The author then introduces Miles, another of...

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This section contains 1,125 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Three-Martini Lunch Study Guide
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