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Accordion Crimes

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  5,751 Ratings  ·  492 Reviews
From the Pulitzer-prize winning author of The Shipping News, Accordion Crimes spans a century and a continent. The novel illuminates the lives of the founders of the U.S.A., descendants of Mexicans, Poles, Irish, etc., all linked by the accordian.
Paperback, 544 pages
Published October 1st 2009 by Fourth Estate (first published January 1996)
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Judy Vasseur
Jan 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This book is outrageously entertaining, each paragraph is an incredible short story in itself. Each sentence is packed with interesting anecdotes and outlandish descriptions. Annie Proulx created characters that continue to swim around in my imagination. This book follows the existence of a green acccordion hand-made with great care in the late 1800's in Italy as it crosses the ocean and passes through different hands, different eras and into the modern age. Because Annie Proulx is a historian w ...more
Feb 08, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Very disappointing. This book's main character is the accordian whose whereabouts the novel follows through magical and strange circumstances. The character development was lacking and the story was hard to follow. One of those books one has to force oneself to finish.
Accordion Crimes traces the history of a small green accordion, as it's passed down through the hands of generations of various immigrants to America. I have read and liked The Shipping News, and the concept of this novel appealed to me immensely - I'm fascinated by immigrants/emigrants and their experience of leaving the home country and adopting to the new one, full of hopes for a better life - often escaping dire poverty and persecution. During the great transatlantic migrations at the turn o ...more
Jan 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's hard for me to say enough about Proulx. In this book, she follows an accordion as it changes hands and moves around the world. She tells the stories of the people who play it. The accordion as a "silent" narrator.

Again, the story is quintessentially American as it traces the immigrant journey Stateside...just the description of the accordion itself, in the beginning pages is enough for me to recommend the book.

I know that Proulx is shy, retiring, even reclusive (my favorite writers, her, Sa
Craig Pittman
Alternate title: "Eight Million Ways to Die."

Unlike what seems like half the country, I have not read "The Shipping News" or anything else by E. Annie Proulx. But when I saw "Accordion Crimes" for sale for $1 on a library surplus books table, I picked it up and read the first page and was hooked. She offered a muscular prose style, but one that was in service to propelling the plot and giving life to the characters. The first line in particular, telling about the Sicilian who makes the accordio
Allie Riley
Jan 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Many cultures preserve their heritage through traditional music and dance (among other things). So it was a stroke of genius, in my opinion, for Proulx to use a musical instrument, the accordion of the title, as a narrative device to hold together the eight stories which together make up this wonderful novel.

'Accordion Crimes' is essentially a social history of the immigrant experience in America, beginning with the accordion maker in 19th century Sicily who crosses the ocean for a better life,
May 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Annie Proulx has taken home the big awards and answered the door when Hollywood came knocking. I'd read The Shipping News and a short story collection. I expect good writing when I pull something from the shelf that bares her moniker. Nothing prepared me for the virtuosity she could bring to the page until I read Accordian Crimes. I can't say that everyone will enjoy the morbidity of her tale nor the picaresque trail of a green accordian that leaves behind a hundred stories calling out for your ...more
Joyce Lagow
Apr 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Annie Proulx has written an odd and compelling book, ostensibly about the fate of those who in one way or another have come into possession of a green accordion, made in Sicily towards the end of the 19th century. It passes from one person to another over a hundred years, seeming to bring bad luck on all who own it. In this narrative, however, Proulx has woven together two histories that of various ethnic minorities in the US over the last hundred years and an account of accordion music in those ...more
Jun 26, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who fetishize E Annie Proulx
Shelves: fiction
Two stars for Proulx's coherent and interesting writing style. No extra stars for wasting my time on a pointless book.

Halfway through this book I knew it was going to be a chore to finish. When I finally did, I felt a great burden lift off my shoulders. I am free to read better books!

This is basically a collection of short stories focused on generally nasty people who live in America throughout the years and happen to play the (various kinds of) accordion. Apparently there are a lot of accordion
Sep 05, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A book that traces the history of a little diatonic button accordion through the people that used it. I enjoyed "The Shipping News," and thought that this might be a clever story. I was more than a little disappointed. This depressing little history had a lot of squalor, a lot of grime--and through it all, the urge to make music...NOPE. More like if there is a little kid in the vignette, he/she is going to be either neglected, physically abused or sexually molested.
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Also published as E. Annie Proulx
Edna Annie Proulx is an American journalist and author. Her second novel, The Shipping News (1993), won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for fiction in 1994. Her short story "Brokeback Mountain" was adapted as an Academy Award, BAFTA and Golden Globe Award-winning major motion picture released in 2005. Brokeback Mountain received massive c
More about Annie Proulx...
“The world is a staircase," hissed the accordion maker in the darkness. "Some go up and some come down. We must ascend.” 9 likes
“It was as if his eye were an ear and a crackle went through it each time he shot a look at the accordion. ...
The notes fell, biting and sharp; it seemed the tooth that bit was hollowed with pain. ”
More quotes…