Accordion Crimes - Annie E. Proulx (1997)
"Vigorous" and "salty" (The Times) are apt descriptions. It's a hard book to read on the bus. Bumping over gravel and the bracing for the jarring turns of a green bus driver are enough to distract from all the activity going on in the language--almost too much activity sometimes. Proulx's prose is certainly roiling, full of harsh jargon and images that slap you once in the face, then do it again for good measure while you're down. Her ability to shock, disgust, and, less frequently, sadden, are uncontested. Each of these disjointed, accordion-linked tales is certainly "salty" enough to scald your tastebuds.
Under fire is The Times' final label, "extraordinary." Each story was interesting, though some much more compelling than others, and yet it didn't mesh together as a novel. The end was unsatisfying, but so were innumerable almost-ends within each section. Proulx is a great writer. This isn't her best work.