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The Clarinet Polaka
by Keith Maillard
St. Martin's Press/Thomas Dunne Books, January 2003


In 1969 a Vietnam-era non-combatant vet named Koprowski returns to his blue-collar Polish-American hometown where nothing much happens beyond working at the steel mill and going to Mass. He sleeps off hangovers in his parents’ attic and drifts into a destructive affair with a married woman. But things change when his younger sister Linda decides to start an all-girl polka band, and Jimmy falls for the band’s star clarinetist, Janice, whose young life is haunted by tragic events that happened before she was born. The threads of Jimmy’s family life, the legacy of WWII Poland, and the healing power of music, language, and tradition all begin to converge.

"Deeply and authentically rooted in Polish-American culture... brilliantly resonates into the universal human condition” -  Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize winning author  

“A story of marvelous skill and poignancy. Maillard is a national treasure” - Kirkus Reviews

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