Accordion Crimes

Annie Proulx

‘Accordion Crimes’ is a masterpiece of story-telling that spans a century and a continent. It opens in 1890 in Sicily, when an accordion-maker and his son, carrying little more than his finest button accordion, begin their voyage to the teeming, violent port of New Orleans. Within a year, the accordion-maker is murdered by an anti-Italian lynch mob, but his instrument carries the novel into another community of immigrants: German-Americans founding a new town in South Dakota. Moving from South Dakota to Texas, from Montana to Maine, the nine instantly compelling and intricately connected sections of the novel illuminate the lives of the founders of a nation, descendants of Mexicans, Poles, Germans, Irish, Scots and Franco-Canadians. Through the music of the accordion they express their fantasies, sorrows and exuberance.

Reviews of Accordion Crimes

  • ‘This novel confirms Proulx as one of the greatest American writers.’ Independent

    ‘The detail is breathtaking, her ear for dialogue matchless, her observation unsentimental, her pace infectious. She tackles death, sex and the gruesome with black hilarity and the skills of a born storyteller. Rich and dense, “Accordion Crimes” is a splendid novel.’ The Times

    ‘Annie Proulx has written an epic social history of America and the plight of the immigrant, which is astonishing in its breadth, heroic in the scale of its ambition and brilliant in its manner of realising them.’ Daily Mail

    ‘The glorious richness of the language continually makes you pause in wonder, the details pile up and surround you.’ Scotsman

    ‘Her range and scope are tremendous, shuttling through the warp of multiple cultures and spanning, by the end, a hundred years. And it is the range of detail that grips, richly concrete.’ Spectator

    ‘Vigorous, salty and extraordinary.’ The Times