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"Pauline, in American terms, was a great failure: always poor, never married, living in a shabby small house when not installed in others' backrooms, worked as a domestic servant, formally uneducated, English spoken with the odd inflections of those who learn a second language, gawky and not physically beautiful, a badly trained musician whose performances would have caused laughter in the cities. She owned nothing valuable, travelled little, and died alone, the last of her family. If there were love affairs, no one will now know anything about them, and everyone involved is surely dead. Probably she died a virgin, the second most terrible fate, after dying broke, that can befall an American."

*The Music of Failure by Bill Holm

I share the humor of Minnesota's own Icelander Bill Holm. He wrote another fine book called "Coming Home Crazy" about his travels in China.

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