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Accordion Crimes Hardcover – 7 Oct 1996


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate; First Edition edition (7 Oct. 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857025083
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857025088
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.7 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,087,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Annie Proulx's The Shipping News won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the National Book Award for Fiction, and the Irish Times International Fiction Prize. She is the author of two other novels: Postcards, winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award, and Accordion Crimes. She has also written two collections of short stories, Heart Songs and Other Stories and Close Range. In 2001, The Shipping News was made into a major motion picture. Annie Proulx lives in Wyoming and Newfoundland.

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Review

Michael Dirda "The Washington Post Book World" You would think Proulx would have the simple decency to make her third novel merely so-so, if only to let someone else grab a little limelight. No such luck...She now seems to know everything about writing. And a fair amount about life, too. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Annie Proulx's books include the novel ‘The Shipping News’ and the story collection ‘Fine Just the Way It Is’. Her many honors include a Pulitzer Prize, a National Book Award, the Irish Times International Fiction Prize and a PEN/Faulkner award. Her story ‘Brokeback Mountain’, which originally appeared in The New Yorker, was made into an Academy Award-winning film. She lives in Wyoming.


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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 5 Dec. 2002
Format: Paperback
I loved this book - in fact I can't remember having read a better one for years.
On the surface, it's the story of an accordian, from it's manufacture by the first owner and then through the lives of consequent owners. As a musician I related to the perceptive descriptions of the players of the instrument and all the other characters - of which there are many!
But the theme is of immigration to the United States, and the often tough lives of those who moved there from diverse countries and cultures. The accordian is seen as an old-fashioned instrument, much like the traditions and cultures the immigrants have left behind, and the pressure (for most characters in the book) is to conform, give up tradition, their old languages and their old music and become 'true' Americans.
Darkly humourous, funny yet tragic, this deep novel takes us through the 20th century (never too specific on date) with great historical detail and reads like a linked collection of short stories. I recommend it.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 Jun. 1999
Format: Paperback
A damn fine book in the tradition familiar to Proulx's readers. Overall perhaps not as complete an achievement as "The Shipping News" but sections of the book read as well as anything she has written prviously. The story follows the progress of a green accordion as it passes through the hands of owners from a variety of national origins and classes. In this way Proulx tells the story of the development of the United States and its immigrants from the 19th centuary to neasr the present day. The accordion interweaves the stories of the characters and provides a thread to the narative. A book of haunting images.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 July 1999
Format: Paperback
This novel is certainly not an easy read, but I think those who shrug it off as depressing and dreary are really missing a great deal of the meaining it has to offer. It may be true that many of the characters come to unpleasant ends, but they often also achieve some measure of happiness along the way. Proulx's message seems to be one of niether hope nor dispair, but rather of life-affirmation; for life is made of equal measures of both, and these characters, who experience so much of both, are vibrantly, powerfully alive. The accordian (which is a brilliant metaphor for America, since it is one common element among so many different ethnicities) is both a blessing and a curse; as the image with which the novel leaves you so beautifully suggests, it is a fountain of possibilities, good and bad.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 Jan. 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a great book. Annie Proulx absorbs and describes detail like no one else, sometimes to a level that makes the reader cringe with the realism, often tinged with black humour. If you are interested in the complex morass that is the USA, with its rich diversity of people, its religious extremes, its poverty and wealth, this provides a living history beginning with the Italian immigrant who first built the small green accordian we follow on its travels.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 28 July 1997
Format: Paperback
Once again, Ms. Proulx has created an extraordinary American tale using an inanimate object (in
this case, a hand-made green accordion instead of sailor's knots) to tie her characters together. It is
necessary to pay close attention while reading this book, as the characters change each time the
accordion takes on new ownership. Although the story starts in Italy, where the instrument is made,
it makes its way across the sea to New Orleans on to Maine and Quebec, Mississippi, Chicago and
elsewhere. The owners are a multitude of immigrants as diversified as the places to which the
accordion goes. Reading this book is a cultural (and geographical!) learning experience-a foray
into the darker, aspects of how America mistreats its foreign émigrés and how they, in turn, mistreat
one another.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By marionq on 7 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Annie Proulx is a magnificent writer and no criticism can take that away. This book reads very much like a series of short stories tied together with the idea of the accordion being passed from hand to hand or finding its way into other hands. Each story is wonderful in itself and as always her lyrical prose is superb and her characters as different and distinct as you would expect to find in multicultural America. For me though this was not my favourite Proulx novel precisely because the short story does not allow the character to be developed far enough before moving on to the next one. Others may love it for that selfsame reason if they like their reading to be done in chunks rather than one continuous story.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Steve Gill on 14 Oct. 2001
Format: Paperback
Could be retitled a million ways to kick the bucket!
Has any book ever described more (strange & crazy) ways to leave this earth than this superb novel?
It reads like a Tarantino film but with greater humour & a real insight into the life and times of some of the greatest accordian players who've ever graced this planet!
... Read it you will not be disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. I. Robinson on 6 Dec. 2012
Format: Paperback
Accordion Crimes is one of the most rewarding books I have read. I started reading Annie Proulx from her first book (I believe), Postcards. I found this challenging as the concept and prose was so different to anything I had read before. But I persisted and became a fan. Ms Proulx is a collector, she collects stories and relates them in a fascinating and wonderful way, as she has with this book. Reading previous reviews I understand the viewpoints and that some may be disappointed after reading just one of her other books, but I am in the group that loves it.
p.s. I love Marmite too.
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