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Extended Audio Sample Accordion Crimes Audiobook, by Annie Proulx Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (3,369 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Annie Proulx Narrator: Edward Herrmann Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 1996 ISBN: 9780743540896
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Rarely has a literary novel so captured the hearts and minds of readers across America and the world as E. Annie Proulx's The Shipping News, winner of the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Now we have Proulx's new novel, Accordion Crimes, a masterpiece of storytelling that spans a century and a continent.

Accordion Crimes opens in 1890 in Sicily as an accordion maker completes his finest instrument and dreams of owning a music store in America. He and his eleven-year-old son, carrying little more than the accordion, voyage to the teeming, violent port of New Orleans. Within a year, the accordion maker is murdered by an anti-Italian lynching mob, but his instrument carries Proulx's story as it falls into the hands of various immigrants who carry it from Iowa to Texas, from Maine to Louisiana, looking for a decent life. The music is their last link with the past -- voice for their fantasies, sorrows and exuberance -- but it, too, is forced to change.

Proulx's prodigious knowledge, heartbreaking characters and daring storytelling unite the sections of Accordion Crimes -- a stunning novel, exhilarating in its scope and originality. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Like all fairy tales, this one charms with its marvels and scares with its excesses...a thrilling read.”

    Chicago Tribune Book World

  • “[Proulx is] is a writer of brilliant descriptive abilities...Accordion Crimes...should please all the author’s fans and generate many new ones...[She] describes the life of [the] underclass with breathtaking vividness and humor.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “A prodigious achievement, a century-spanning, culture-hopping saga of the United States told with a historian’s unflinching intricacy and candor.”

    Miami Herald

  • “Spectacular...Proulx dazzled readers of The Shipping News and Postcards with her language, and she does so again.”

    Detroit Free Press

  • Accordion Crimes is both unnerving and amazingly rich, full of surprises.”

    Globe and Mail (Toronto)

  • “In scale, in vision and imaginative daring, Accordion Crimes uses all the resources of Proulx’s mature prose...She is a great novelist.”

    New Republic

  • “A mighty, searing reflection on US ethnic history.”

    Nation

  • “The logic and power behind this riveting novel is Proulx’s exquisite attention to person and place...as complete a portrait of the twentieth century as we’re likely to find.”

    Elle

  • “How beautifully written! From its arresting first paragraph, this epic of immigrant aspiration grips the listener with its canny plotting, vivid characterization, and masterful style. Edward Herrmann, best known as TV’s FDR, gives us such a flawlessly tasteful, insightful rendering that he makes us feel as if Pulitzer-winner Proulx created the story to be read aloud.”

    AudioFile

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Emily | 2/17/2014

    " Really quirky, but I like that! This is the story of a bunch of different people who own one accordion. It took me several months to read this- some smoother than others, but for the most part, I really enjoyed it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kim Fowler | 2/6/2014

    " she's brilliant but this one was too dense for my addled mind. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kim | 2/2/2014

    " contemp fiction:America 20th century-----------separate stories through one accordion "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michelle | 1/25/2014

    " There is just something about Annie Proulx's writing that I love. This isn't exactly a page turner and I even had to set it down for a while so I could bring something a little lighter on vacation. But the descriptions of classic Proulx hard-scrabble characters and places is terrific. Worth it when you have time to chew on words a bit. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mark | 12/29/2013

    " It's rare that I give up on a book, especially when someone has personally recommended it to me, but I cannot stand this book. There is no rhythm or flow. Just when you think the writer has hit her stride and things are finally going to move along, she slams the door of boredom in your face. This book just isnt working for me. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 raina | 12/27/2013

    " Almost a collection of short stories, these tales are weaved around the travels of an accordion that makes its way in and out of ethnic cultures in the United States. Proulx's vast knowledge of location and identity, as well as her facility with dialects and dialogues, makes this book a veritable historical survey of the United States intertwined with the important role music plays in identity and memory. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Beth | 12/19/2013

    " I could never get into this book. I never finished it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah Sammis | 12/16/2013

    " Clearly the author put a lot of thought into the back stories of all the different families who come into possession of the Green Accordion. Her frequent asides hint at the fullness of the story but each scene is so quick, so flitting that I found it difficult to engage any of the characters, save for the builder of the accordion. Each of these 50 page chapters could easily have been expanded into a separate novel making for a series of novels about the Accordion but I'm sure that her publisher wouldn't have wanted to take that much of a risk on a series of books about a musical instrument. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marie | 12/12/2013

    " I'm possitive it took many hours of research for Ms Proulx to put this book together, and I admire her for her efforts, but I truthfully had a difficult time keeping an interest in completing it, but I did. I did find the different experiences of the immigrants and their hard lives close to what my own grandparents lived through. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Abby Sominski | 11/28/2013

    " I tired of the main character (the accordian), it lacked personality. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tracey | 11/9/2013

    " I didn't like this book as much as the others I'd read by Proulx. It sort of jumped around in time, wasn't written chronologically, and for me that is difficult. It was interesting, but not really good IMO. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Robwlyn | 10/1/2013

    " Makes you think about generations of people...their lives...what objects may connect us to the past and the future "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Priya Keefe | 8/26/2013

    " I loved The Shipping News, but although I liked the idea behind Accordion Crimes, I didn't care about any of the characters. I might be a different kind of reader now, but I'm not inclined to pick up this grim tale again. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jeffrey Brown | 8/11/2013

    " i keep losing interest in this one, but i am so fascinated by the setting and characters... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Susan Odetta | 6/14/2013

    " This story follows a little green button accordion through several generations of people's hands; people who suffer horrible injury or a terrible death. But the accordion survives....sort of. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessica | 4/29/2013

    " Follows the story of a green accordion from the accordion maker who brings it to America. Reads like a collection of short stories, but they are all so dense and detailed they begin to feel repetitive. A nice story of Am. heritage and old world music, though. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Janie | 2/19/2013

    " I listened to this on audiocassettes and it blew me away. Rich characterization, beautiful description, and surprising twists and turns. An all-time favorite, this book introduced me to Proulx' other works. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Chloe | 1/29/2013

    " Still struggling through this...grim... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Malcolm Creen | 9/29/2012

    " Clever, but too American for many English readers I suspect. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Andrew Herren | 7/31/2012

    " Passed this one along as well after two attempts and 150 pages. Loved some of Proulx's other works (Shipping News and The Old Ace In The Hole) but couldn't get in to this one. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kelly | 5/24/2012

    " Very well-described and educational about American immigrant history, some humourous scenarios. However I struggled to finish it and got fed up with perpetual misery. Depressing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anne Humphrey | 4/8/2012

    " I love E. Annie Proulx--this was another great read. . .collection of short stories all centered around the life of one small green accordian. . . couldn't wait to get back to it each day! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Laureen Vonnegut | 1/1/2012

    " couldn't get through it. too many swaps in main characters. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Philip Persinger | 11/29/2011

    " A rondolet that squeeze-boxes the life out of you. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Angela | 7/16/2011

    " too gory..couldn't stand the crudness of this story...not Annie's best book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Reuel | 7/9/2011

    " This was a gift from Sharon Lewis. A good mystery in which an accordian is sold, lost, given, to various people in the U.S. from various immigrant cultures over several generation. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kate | 5/22/2011

    " Well, I powered through it and survived. Wonderful prose but impossibly depressing. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Angela | 4/9/2011

    " too gory..couldn't stand the crudness of this story...not Annie's best book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 ElizaAnne | 3/24/2011

    " a gritty little book...a very gritty little book

    But in the big scheme of things, Proulx points out the cultural importance of the accordian to nearly every group of emmigrants to the United States. I liked it, a lot.

    "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jack | 3/18/2011

    " Liked the Shipping News better.She does a good job at creating some unforgetable characters but the book took
    on a drone after a while it just didn't leave you satisfied. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Claire | 3/15/2011

    " Wow...as usual, a wonderful book by Annie Proulx about a bunch of miserable people and an accordion which is passed down through cultures and generations. Dark and funny at the same time. A great read! But don't expect anything good to happen. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rebecca | 2/8/2011

    " Not as good as the Shipping News. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Norah | 1/30/2011

    " This book really does ramble off on a lot of tangents...sometimes the accordion isn't even mentioned for what seems like days. But there are some memorable
    Characters involved. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sylvia | 1/28/2011

    " toch niet de allerbeste van annie "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Emily | 1/11/2011

    " Really quirky, but I like that! This is the story of a bunch of different people who own one accordion. It took me several months to read this- some smoother than others, but for the most part, I really enjoyed it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sandy | 1/5/2011

    " I actually didn't finish this book. It was one of the most brutal books I have ever read. May start a list of all the ways she killed off her characters. I couldn't attach to any one person and couldn't care much about the accordion either. "

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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 short story “Brokeback Mountain,” which originally appeared in the New Yorker, was made into an Academy Award–winning film starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal. Proulx currently lives in Wyoming.

About the Narrator

Edward Herrmann (1943–2014) was one of America’s top audiobook narrators. He won multiple Earphones and Audie Awards, and his narration of the King James version of the Bible remains a benchmark in the industry.