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Accordion Crimes Paperback – 23 Jun 1997

3.6 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 431 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprinted edition edition (23 Jun. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684831546
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684831541
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 2.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,260,821 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Phoebe-Lou Adams

"Atlantic Monthly"

Splendid...Ms. Proulx is a magician.



Gail Caldwell

"Boston Sunday Globe"

A daringly intelligent work with a soul as wide as the Mississippi.



Kathleen Byrne

"Globe and Mail Review of Books"

Crisp and authoritative, her spare, dense prose is mesmerizing ...A majestic novel.



John Sutherland

"The New Republic"

In scale, in vision and in imaginative darling, "Accordion Crimes" uses all the range and the resources of Proulx's mature prose....She is a great novelist.



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.



Phoebe-Lou Adams"Atlantic Monthly"Splendid...Ms. Proulx is a magician.

Gail Caldwell"Boston Sunday Globe"A daringly intelligent work with a soul as wide as the Mississippi.

Kathleen Byrne"Globe and Mail Review of Books"Crisp and authoritative, her spare, dense prose is mesmerizing ...A majestic novel.

John Sutherland"The New Republic"In scale, in vision and in imaginative darling, "Accordion Crimes" uses all the range and the resources of Proulx's mature prose....She is a great novelist.

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.

Phoebe-Lou Adams "Atlantic Monthly" Splendid...Ms. Proulx is a magician.

John Sutherland "The New Republic" In scale, in vision and in imaginative darling, "Accordion Crimes" uses all the range and the resources of Proulx's mature prose....She is a great novelist.

Kathleen Byrne "Globe and Mail Review of Books" Crisp and authoritative, her spare, dense prose is mesmerizing ...A majestic novel.

Gail Caldwell "Boston Sunday Globe" A daringly intelligent work with a soul as wide as the Mississippi.

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.

About the Author

Annie Proulx is the author of eight books, including the novel "The Shipping News" and the story collection "Close Range". 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. Her most recent novel is "Barkskins".She lives in Seattle.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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Format: Paperback
My first Annie Proulx but not my last. This is a modern masterpiece - a slide of American history and an offbeat riff on the immigrant experience. It's about belonging and otherness and exclusion and family. It's full of tragedy and little joys, and music. Each of the stories is a gem, and the writing is just mesmeric. This is a really, really special book. It bursts with compassion. It's a lengthy read and Proulx's is a very considered literary style, but the quick about-changes in the story keep the pages turning. Very highly recommended in all respects.
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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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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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Format: 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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