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How To Get Into the Twin Palms Paperback – Deckle Edge, August 14, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Two Dollar Radio (August 14, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0983247188
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983247180
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #376,517 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Not only is How to Get into the Twin Palms about the overwhelming state that is displacement, it's about what happens when loneliness becomes unbearable. Waclawiak writes through these tensions so elegantly, so tenderly, that How to Get Into the Twin Palms is, by far, one of my favorite books this year."
- Roxane Gay, The Rumpus


Meaningful message: Masked by scenes of schmancy nightlife is a story about an immigrant wanting to belong. Plot notes: Barely getting by in L.A. on bingo-calling, Anya reinvents herself. With hair dye and a push-up bra, she tries to gain entry into the Twin Palms nightclub. 
- Marie Claire's list of favorite reads


"The premise is comical, but the story is deep, as Anya bumps up against the world in an attempt to define her identity as both an immigrant and a woman." - Flavorpill, 10 Novellas Perfect for Literary Lounging


"How to Get Into the Twin Palms presents a vividly drawn portrait of Los Angeles inhabited by alienated immigrants, Russian Gangsters, and sex-starved bingo-addicted octogenarians - all enveloped by smoldering fires that threaten to burn the city down."
-Christine Schutt, Poets & Writers 2012 First Fiction


"Sex-crazed, surreal, dreamy, violent, escapist, and always searching for some kind of truth. The book makes me think of questions I ask myself all the time."
- Sara Finnerty, HTML Giant 

About the Author

Karolina Waclawiak: Karolina Waclawiak received her MFA in fiction from Columbia University. She is the Deputy Editor of The Believer and lives and writes in Brooklyn.

More About the Author

Karolina Waclawiak is a graduate of the MFA Fiction program at Columbia University and received her BFA in Screenwriting from USC in 2002. She is currently the essays editor of The Believer. Her novel Invaders will be out in 2015. For more information visit http://www.karolinawaclawiak.com

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Eman Saleh on July 5, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I downloaded this book to my kindle and read it in one day. I don't even know where the time went. There is something about the story and the writing style that hooks you from the first page and keeps you going.

First, the subject matter is unique -- you are entrenched in the Russian/Polish community in Los Angeles, given a glimpse into a world most of us are completely unfamiliar with. Every detail seems to be a fascinating little surprise. But this story is more than just an intriguing world. Anya is SUCH A RARE main character -- a young woman who isn't afraid to put herself out there in a brazen attempt to find herself. To make mistakes. She isn't slight; she can handle it.

The other thing I love about this book is the questions it raises about intimacy -- what are you owed when you love? What are you allowed to ask for in return? What does what you ask for say about who you are? Does where you come from factor into the equation?

But you don't even realize all these questions are roiling around in your head until you've read the last sentence, because you are completely engrossed and inside Anya's head every step of the way.

I also love how so much of the story is revealed to us through the little things. Like how Anya analyzes old hair balls. Or scrutinizes the way someone eats borscht.

This is a beautiful, cathartic, svelte novel. Equally funny and tragic with a refreshing voice. I look forward to future works from the author.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dominika Waclawiak on July 6, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I loved this book. I also got it on the kindle version and finished it in one sitting. This novel brought up so many questions about what it means to fit in both culturally and personally and what it takes to assimilate. Living between 2 worlds and not belonging to either really struck a cord for me.

Karolina also perfectly got the tone and mood of Los Angeles. It's not surprising that reading through her bio she lived there for over 10 years. This is the real Los Angeles - a melting pot of cultures that live block to block next to each other. It's a very unique community that Karolina captures so well - especially the old Fairfax - Santa Monica district that is quickly disappearing. It's a novel as much about the unique disconnection in Los Angeles as it is about the loneliness of the main character Ania.

Ania's roaming and needs were so vivid to me that this book has made me think about it's themes for days. It's a must read and definitely belongs in the pantheon of incredible Los Angeles novels.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. Peet on August 20, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I could not understand the main character - there is little character development to explain why she behaves and thinks the way she does. She seems to have no self-respect or value system so it was very hard for me to connect with her. I had high expectations for a story of an immigrant trying to fit in, but instead I got a story of an immigrant trying to be another type of immigrant, selling herself and her culture along the way to fit in with a loser crowd. Blah.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K.F. on December 10, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is an easy, entertaining read that ultimately doesn't satisfy. The writer shifted gears in the last quarter of the book and it lost credibility for me. Throughout the novel we are dealing with a superficial, odd-ball main character. At the end we're supposed to sympathize with her deep emotions when throughout the book she seemed to have a pretty hollow response to the world around her. I actually liked that attitude and wanted the book to illuminate it all for me in some way, but the book suddenly becomes melodramatic and over the top in a way that felt so false and manipulative. I don't like it when I become so conscious of the writer trying to make me feel something that wasn't earned.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rosanna on October 29, 2012
Format: Paperback
Waclawiak has a very visceral literary style, that feels refreshing and real. She describes very intimate details of sex and life vividly and unflatteringly. After reading How to Get Into the Twin Palms, I felt I had taken a journey in Anya's body. I could feel her raw, burnt hands, her cut vagina lip, and her losing battle with her newly grown in roots, exposing her artificial hair color. However, as familiar as I was with Anya's body I never reached the same closeness with Anja's mind and her motivations seemed lacking. I understand her desire to belong, her isolation of being in between two worlds, not really belonging to either. She believes that the glamorous and selective world of the Twin Palms will bring her happiness and allow her to lead a totally new interesting life, a life away from being unemployed, unloved, and unnoticed.

Anja is one of the most passive narrators I have ever read. She waits and waits for a man to come into her life, to solve all her problems and create excitement in her life. Once, she finds a man she continues to wait for him, never knowing when he'll show up on her door step and what he'll want when he gets there. She does not think about her actions or the consequences of those actions, which makes her a very unsympathetic character. We do not know enough of her background to fully understand the way she behaves. Honestly, I felt more for the old lady, Mary, then I ever felt for Anya. I could feel her grief, loneliness, and isolation in a way that touched me, whereas Anya's unhappiness seems to result from herself and the choices she makes.

Overall, I found the author's style engaging, but the story itself rather mundane and lacking essential character development.
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