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

3.9 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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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.
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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: 5.4 x 0.9 x 7.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #194,766 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Anka is alone is the loneliest of places, the City of Angels. She lives in a stucco apartment in the Little Russia/Ukraine corner of Hollywood. She just lost her job finding people the `'right fit` at a temp agency. She is obsessed with the mysterious Twin Palms nightclub up the street and especially with one of its denizens, a Russian thugster with vodka breath and a cheap leather jacket. And all around the hills are inflame.

Such is the premise of Karolina Waclawiak`s weird debut novel, "How to Get Into The twin Palms." Unconventional in form with two-three page chapters, "Twin Palms" is a wry story about the costs of fitting into American society. Anka left Poland as a child navigating adolescence in an immigrant `assimilation camp` in Texas. Now in her twenties, Anka still feels adrift, no longer Polish, not quite American. She moves to the most generic place she can, LA. She envies her neighbors, those recent arrivals from the disemboweled Soviet Union who feel as comfortable as they did in Vladivostok or Kharkov. Bereft of identity and a `someone` to fill the void, she naturally becomes enthralled with the enigmatic stranger who loiters in front of her apartment.

Waclawiak`s prose is both understated and quirky. Details and character motivations are often guesswork. Her sentences rattle out clipped of wing and deceptively simple. This less-is-more format is both intriguing and annoying. Anka is prone to waxing cryptic about the travails of her solitude. "This was me making it work." Anka appears as vague and oddly tantalizing as the `Palms` she so hungers to enter. A myriad of wounds and hurts no doubt simmer below the surface but are never brought before the harsh California sun.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
we chose this book for our book club and it was one of the only one everyone read! of course everyone had something to say about it, too. the author writes in such an accessible way - we really connect to the main character. read it! I'm ordering her next one - it's on all the summer lists. I love discovering new writers and then watching their work grow.
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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Periodically I give up on modern fiction - so much of it seems poorly constructed and under-developed and in need of a better editor. But then books come along infrequently that renew my faith in the genre and remind me there are still writers out there with a gift. "How To Get Into the Twin Palms" is such a book. Reminiscent of Fante, the author does a great job of making us feel the loneliness and estrangement of Los Angeles, made all the more powerful from the viewpoint of an immmigrant who desperately wants into the Twin Palms because it is going to be a transformative place.
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