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38 Reviews
5 star:
 (14)
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 (6)
3 star:
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2 star:
 (9)
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ...or around the USA in 100 years
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...
Published on 5 Dec 2002

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book- held my attention
I enjoyed this book, but after reading The Shipping News, I found the same themes, and similar characters appearing. The story catches you up- and you do find yourself racing to finish, except at the end you don't necessarily come away feeling as ifyou have learned something. Still worth the money to while away the long winter's evenings!
Published on 19 Feb 1999


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ...or around the USA in 100 years, 5 Dec 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Accordion Crimes (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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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Up there with the Shipping News, 11 Jun 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Accordion Crimes (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
5.0 out of 5 stars A complex and beautiful celebration of diversity., 20 July 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Accordion Crimes (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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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Weird Wonderful & Hugely entertaining., 14 Oct 2001
By 
Steve Gill (Cardiff Wales.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Accordion Crimes (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
4.0 out of 5 stars History of America through the eyes of a green accordian, 20 Jan 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Accordion Crimes (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
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book- held my attention, 19 Feb 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Accordion Crimes (Paperback)
I enjoyed this book, but after reading The Shipping News, I found the same themes, and similar characters appearing. The story catches you up- and you do find yourself racing to finish, except at the end you don't necessarily come away feeling as ifyou have learned something. Still worth the money to while away the long winter's evenings!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Start To Finish Took One Year!, 19 Nov 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: Accordion Crimes (Paperback)
I COULD put this book down. And did, often. While I savored sentences and paragraphs, the chapters seemed endless, aimless, often gruesome enough to make me turn away. Too many lives, journeys, details breaking into separate pieces in one book. I have great faith that her next book will be a return to excellence.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A long and rambling tale that loses the reader, 22 Oct 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: Accordion Crimes (Paperback)
While the beginning of E. Annie Proulx's novel, Accordion Crimes starts off well, the reader is quickly lost as the accordion moves from one miserable owner to another. I truly was bored by this book, but did finish it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring and frustrating, 3 Aug 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Accordion Crimes (Paperback)
The premise sounded interesting: following the accordian through a series of owners from all walks of life. But the characters were extremely uninteresting. I didn't mind the book's darkness, as other reviewers did, because I really didn't care at all what happened to any of the characters, tragic or otherwise. But it's not enough that it's boring... Proulx' writing style is so frustrating. One paragraph might be a single sentence, going on and on, through myriad descriptive phrases, punctuated with endless commas, so that, by the end of the sentence, you have completely lost the point. Then the next paragaph is a collection of short thoughts. Single phrases. Broken into sentences. I was so distracted by the run-on sentences and the dramatic stylistic shifts, that what little empathy I might have mustered for any of the characters was totally lost.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tedious parade of horribles, 9 Jun 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Accordion Crimes (Paperback)
A disappoininting, depressing book, chock full of every imaginable form of death and dismemberment. Proulx's fascination with the grotesque is numbing at first, but by book's end it is merely laughable. The accordion is really not much more than a clever gimmick to "link" what might have worked as independent short stories. It is is hard to defend a novel about the immigrant expreince which is so devoid of humanity, love and faith. Proulx's version of American history is so drenched in blood, that all else, with the notable exception of some brilliant passages about the joy of music,is obscured. While it could be argued that it is refreshing not to encounter soft-hearted, sentimental ethnic stereotypes, it is disheartening that she still manages to paint the Poles as hard drinkers, the Mexicans as somewhat lazy and the Norweigans as repressed and cruel. The book's redeeming feature is her wonderful, lean prose. Proulx has described her writing as "muscular" and that it is. Better off reading the The Shipping News and call it a day.
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Accordion Crimes
Accordion Crimes by Annie Proulx (Paperback - 1 Oct 2009)
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