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, a voice for their fantasies, sorrows, and exuberance, but it too, is forced to change. Proulx's heartbreaking characters and daring storytelling which unite the sections of Accordion Crimes, make it a stunning novel, exhilarating in its scope and originality.