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How to Get Into the Twin Palms

3.49  ·  Rating Details  ·  552 Ratings  ·  93 Reviews
"Masked by scenes of schmancy nightlife is a story about an immigrant wanting to belong. Barely getting by in LA on bingo-calling, Anya reinvents herself. With hair dye and a push-up bra, she tries to gain entry into the Twin Palms nightclub."-"Marie Claire"

"A taut debut... [that] strikes with the creeping suddenness of a brush fire."-"Publishers Weekly" (*starred*)

ebook, 200 pages
Published July 10th 2012 by Two Dollar Radio
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(showing 1-30 of 2,454)
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Jul 17, 2012 Manfred rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book reminds me of John Fante's Bandini writing - the loneliness that is constantly on the verge of despair, the sense of Los Angeles as a main character. It also has Fante's immigrant desire to be someone and something else and then getting frustrated when everyone else doesn't see what you are trying to be. However, Waclawiak definitely has her own voice.

When we are introduced to the main character we discover she immediately wishes to be anybody but herself, for about 5 or 6 reasons. We
I'm not sure whether the brilliant cover art and the gorgeous rough cut pages biased me towards this book. I recently read The Daylight Gate by Jeanette Winterson and questioned whether I would have liked it if someone other than Winterson had written it. Would I have enjoyed this book if it had grotesque cover art and was typeset in an ugly font? Maybe not as much.

Books this well designed makes me realise how important it is to ... design books this well. I liked closing it and enjoying the cov
Aug 15, 2012 Ivan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book stinks, and by that I mean only that odors permeate the page: Onions mixed with cheap cologne. Dried saliva. Dill and boiled potatoes. “Food smells from the neighbors tumbled through the walls. Chicken fat from soup and dried sausages mixed with urine from the pipes in the bathroom. The smells seeped into the beds, the sofa, and the carpet.”

A vivid sensory experience told by an outsider equally ill at ease in mainstream Los Angeles, in her pan-Slavic neighborhood, and with regard to h
Sep 13, 2014 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lapl, favorites
A weirdly funny, yet strangely tragic story about an unemployed 20-year old single white female living off Fairfax in West Hollywood. This immigrant girl's sole ambition is to pass as Russian so she can enter the Russian club, the Twin Palms. She dyes her Polish blond hair all kinds of cheap ugly and then curses the yellow roots growing back. She buys lots of thin cigarettes that seem like Russian women, smokes a ton, and runs around a track until she barfs all over it. From her apartment balcon ...more
Sep 28, 2012 Judy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Judy by: Daisy
I've been fortunate this year as far as good luck with first-time novelists. That luck continues with this book. Waclawiak has a spicy, humorous style of writing that worked well with this Polish immigrant surrounded by Russian immigrants story.

The main character of the story becomes obsessed with getting into a nearby Russian nightclub, the Twin Palms. She isn't allowed in by the doorkeeper in spite of her efforts to gain entrance. What follows is the story. But...lest you think this is a shal
Jan 02, 2014 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Such a strange feeling to read a book that inhabits a geography with which I am intimate but presents a world that is strange to the point of being almost alien. Waclawiak takes the received images of a specific type of immigrant experience and transmutes them into a universal feelings of longing and nostalgia, a dangerous cocktail of emotions for people stuck between places.
Diane Yannick
Jul 21, 2014 Diane Yannick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Feeling a need to stretch myself as a reader, I bought a subscription to Emily's Books. She selects one book a month, one that most likely would not have been on my radar. This first book was way outside my comfort zone. This book was not written to prove the author's finesse with words but rather to take us into a single immigrant's world. A world that is filled with stained mattresses, vomit and violence. Universal truths are not espoused; it's just one gritty tale that haunted me.

The writing
Oct 29, 2012 Rosanna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, giveaway
Waclawiak has a very visceral literary style, that feels refreshing and real. She describes very intimate details of sex and life vividly and unflatteringly. After reading How to Get Into the Twin Palms, I felt I had taken a journey in Anya’s body. I could feel her raw, burnt hands, her cut vagina lip, and her losing battle with her newly grown in roots, exposing her artificial hair color. However, as familiar as I was with Anya’s body I never reached the same closeness with Anja’s mind and her ...more
Aug 10, 2012 Daisy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bleak, this story of a lost young woman in the Russian enclave of Los Angeles during fiery Santa Ana season. Why, you keep asking yourself. Why does she do what she does, want what she wants? Very interesting.

Now, either I missed something or I'm dumb or there's a misprint (there are a couple of little ones) but there's a section in the middle, an episode in Poland with a family member, that comes on so surprisingly, I wonder if there's an introductory paragraph or sentence missing. Someone play
Oct 14, 2015 Rana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Look! I read a book about Polish and/or Russian people and there weren't any stupid myths or magical realism! What was here? Some very subtle ideas about ethnicity and passing (in this case, being Polish and trying to pass as Russian) and what makes somebody American vs an immigrant and the different types of people who pull one way or the other.
Jan 21, 2013 Tuck rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
pretty terrific novel of longing and looking for a place to be, a person to be. our character anya, or is that REALLY her name, tries to pass, as russian, her being polish, but really her being usaer. so already things are turning upside down, passing being black passing as white, shhh, don't tell, and "polish", even though she's not "polish" anymore, she could never go back even if she wanted to.
so the twin palms is just down the street, and spoiler, she does get in.
but then she does burn down
Brandi Brown
I went into this book having read interviews with Karolina Waclawiak and reviews of the book, but I must say that I disagreed with the enormous praise heaped on this debut effort. How to Get into the Twin Palms is the story of Zosia, a Polish immigrant, who is living in LA without her family and unemployed and spends her days attempting to pass as Russian, though she knows none of the language and little of the customs, in order to gain entrance into a nightclub.

Zosia manages to entangle hersel
Full Stop

Review by Alex Estes

In a poem by David Shapiro titled “Gold and Cardboard,” a young child asks his father ‘are there words for everything?’ The father, to clarify, asks ‘You mean the space / between // The clouds?’ The child cries, ‘Yes!’ The father, ‘No!’ And the reader feels the weight of what this means. There are not words for everything. For writers this, of course, is great news. The very next line of the poem explains why this is so, when Shapiro sa
Althea J.
There's something about the main character's aimlessness that I relate to. She sets her sights on a Russian man she knows isn't right for her. She wants him to want her. The reality of him sleeping in her bed makes her want him to go, but when he does, she doesn't want him to. She just wants. It seems to all come from a place of boredom, which I think I get.

What she really says she wants is to get into the Twin Palms, on the arm of her Russian gangster, as his main woman. But I have no idea what
Apr 19, 2013 Sonja rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I know this novel was purposefully dead-pan. Still I'd say that I was exasperated along the course of the read, for the protagonist's clueless idling presented in the mere accumulation of artless sentences. And now readers have to adore this as some sort of the hipsterdom in its height? At least that is how the novel is marketed. I really don't understand why, but if it really is, I just want to be counted out.
Sep 09, 2012 LK rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very entertaining at first. This book probably merits four stars, but it left me with such a nasty, gritty feeling in the end (and that is probably why it deserves four stars, but I don't like nasty feelings, so I give it three stars!). You can't help but empathize with the main character at first, but as the story drags on, you realize the manipulative brat is responsible for her own sorrows.
Jul 17, 2014 Susan rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014, emilys-books
If this book wasn't so odd, I would give it five stars. Perhaps because this books is so odd I should give it five stars. It's like a 4.5 star book.

Anya, the protagonist lives in LA, in a bare bones apartment, right down the street from the Twin Palms, which seems to be a Russian expatriate nightclub-type of joint. She is 25, a Polish immigrant who has tried (and succeeded) to assimilate into American culture, and now all she wants is to get into the Twin Palms and to 'pass' for Russian. But she
Caryn Rose
Aug 13, 2012 Caryn Rose rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I could not put this book down. I loves the voice and the feeling of aloneness and alienation and the added layer of despair from Los Angeles. It felt real and not made-for-tv. Every part of the story was believable, the characters made me like them and hate them and care about them.
Linda Brunner
Jan 19, 2016 Linda Brunner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fast read. Raw revelatory and often times gross. I kept dipping back into the book wanting to fix the life of the young woman who was our main character. I imagine that someone might have felt the same about my 20 year old self.

I'm Polish and I recognized that soup and the healing that the old ways can bring. And I also knew that need as a young woman to get as far away from those ways as I could. To be " modern," to be something other than Polish in an area where they were treated l
Claire Jefferies
So, I just had to edit my review from 2 stars to 3 because of some extenuating circumstances it wouldn't be fair not to explain. My initial reaction was to give it 2 stars, because I just couldn't get involved with the story - I found my mind wandering and I would read a page and have to go back and re-read it because I realized I hadn't absorbed anything. To me, that's a sign that it's not a good book - FOR ME. That's what I had to come back and explain, because the writing wasn't bad. It wasn' ...more
Sep 14, 2012 Jaime rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This felt different than other books I've read, and though I liked it, I think it's one that I have to read again to get the little details I missed the first time.
Jul 31, 2014 Lina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed How to Get into the Twin Palms--Waclawiak's writing was sensory-charged, from the smell of the Santa Ana fires to the narrator's shaving cuts, it was hard to read the book without being transported into her world. A Polish immigrant, Anya (nee Zosia) decides to try and pass as Russian, scoring a very questionable dude in the process. I assumed at some point the author would explain why the narrator was obsessed with Russians (pretty historically charged, no?) but she never did, ...more
Apr 24, 2013 Hannah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(review forthcoming)
M. Christine
Dec 31, 2015 M. Christine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Utter delight for me! Bought this in quest to support authors, plus to see about the hype. The Los Angeles stomping grounds (surrounded by hill fires caused by Santa Ana winds) setting resonated intimately, as well as the rawness of the writing. Thank you to Waclawiak for letting me know I’m not the only one who has used hydrogen peroxide to remove menstrual stains (or popped-cherry blood in her protagonist’s case)! The novel’s not perfect, but so what? The finish is choppy, a closure of lunacy, ...more
Depressing :( A young woman, recently laid off and living on unemployment and money made calling bingo at a church, lives alone in a small apt off Fairfax. She is lonely, with no friends to speak of, no boyfriend, a mother who calls and tells her to go to to church. She feels more Polish than American, having been born there and visiting fairly often as a child. But she was raised here. And she just wants to get into the Russian club at the end of her street--the Twin Palms. But she speaks littl ...more
It's weird to read a book that is doggedly specific to a neighborhood that at one point you knew like the back of your hand. This book takes place nearly entirely in the Los Angeles where the Russian part of West Hollywood and the Fairfax District meet, with a few brief forays into Hollywood and Griffith Park. Real stores, restaurants and street names are continually dropped, and it's nearly 100% accurate (come on. Kosher News is a block south on Oakwood, not Rosewood! Otherwise, Karolina, I thi ...more
Oct 30, 2012 Ray rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love LA fiction but I think think this novel strained the bounds of the disaffected loner aspect of the genre. Not that there aren't disaffected loners in LA (and perhaps at a higher ratio than in other places), but the kind of alienation Anya possesses is bigger than her reaction to the environment.

Is it about being an immigrant? Could be. I suppose the irony was intentional but the fact that her approach to fitting in was to join in another immigrant group--one with more presence--was funny.
from the publisher

Read 7/5/12 - 7/7/12
4 Stars - Strongly Recommended to readers who have always wanted to be someone else and will do just about anything to become them
Pgs: 194
Publisher: Two Dollar Radio
Releases: July 17, 2012

Have you ever slept with a man that sort of disgusted you just to get something you want? Anya, a Polish-born, Russian-wanna-be will stop at almost nothing to get into the exclusive Twin Palms. Including pulling a man who smells like sour milk and may or may not be a local
Feb 12, 2013 Britton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book looked at me from the shelf of my neighborhood library and whispered; "psst, hey, wannna read me" I took it home with me and dove right in. The story was intriguing to me, having lived briefly on the edge of the Russian district in West Hollywood, I felt like this story would provide me with some insight to the Russian American experience in L.A.
The narrator of the story is trying herself to be part of the Russian American experience, because we find out she is in fact Poli
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Karolina Waclawiak lived in Los Angeles for ten years, and while there, received her BFA in Screenwriting from USC. She moved to New York in 2008 to pursue an MFA in Fiction at Columbia and completed her first novel, How To Get Into The Twin Palms. She is currently the essays editor of the Believer and is working on a third novel and several screenplays, including one in production.

From her New Yo
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