ACCORDION CRIMES by E. Annie Proulx: A Review

The Shipping News was one of my favorite books–ever. This novel, Accordion Crimes

by the same author was not as engaging but a darned good read in its own right. The metaphor or theme was pure genius: a small green accordion which was passed from owner to owner over the decades, and character sketches of its various owners.

Written in 1996, the novel has been called by critics, “a masterpiece of storytelling.” It begins in 1890s’ Sicily, where the accordion maker fashions the small, elegant accordion. He and his son immigrate to America with dreams of opening a music store. They come to live in New Orleans, and when the accordion maker is murdered, the green accordion falls into the hands of someone who carried it onward to Iowa, then to Texas.

The music of the accordion is the “last link to their pasts ” for Mexicans, Africans, Poles, Germans, Norwegians, Irish, Basques, and Franco Canadians, as the instrument moves from owner to owner, family to family. It “becomes their voice[s] for their fantasies, sorrows, and exuberance[s],” all of which Proulx shares with the reader. The novel introduces many, many characters, each a representative of their ethnicity as the accordion travels across the continent and back. There is a surprise ending, which brings the reader’s memory all the way back to a forgotten event/detail. This novel is a darned good read.

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Author: Rae Longest

This year (2019) finds me with 50 plus years of teaching "under my belt." I have taught all levels from pre-K "(library lady" or "book lady"--volunteer) to juniors, seniors, and graduate students enrolled in my Advanced Writing class at the university where I have just completed 30 years. My first paying teaching job was junior high, and I spent 13 years with ages 12-13, the "difficult years." I had some of the "funnest" experiences with this age group. When I was no longer the "young, fun teacher," I taught in an elementary school setting before sixth graders went on to junior high, teaching language arts blocs, an assignment that was a "dream-fit" for me. After completing graduate school in my 40s, I went on to community college, then university teaching. Just as teaching is "in my blood," so is a passion for reading, writing, libraries, and everything bookish. This blog will be open to anyone who loves books, promotes literacy and wants to "come out and play."

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