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Lake Wobegon Summer 1956
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Lake Wobegon Summer 1956 by Garrison Keillor, a hilarious coming-of-age-novel, evokes the post-war optimism and Cold War suspicion of outsiders, all related in a relentlessly charming prose.

About the Author

Garrison Keillor, 'America's tallest radio humorist', was born in 1942 in a small town in Minnesota, into a family of Scottish fundamental protestants. His father was a railroad clerk and he was the third of six children. As a child, radio and television were discouraged, but the family were expert at entertaining themselves with evenings of storytelling.In 1966 Garrison Keillor graduated from the University of Minnesota, where he earned his tuition working at the campus radio station. His ambition though was to write - three years later the big breakthrough came when he sold a story to the New Yorker. He immediately gave up his job at the radio station to concentrate exclusively on writing but, ironically, it was an assignment from the New Yorker in 1974, which tempted him back to the radio.Writing about the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville brought back childhood memories of the warmth and spontaneity of the medium, and the result of this was to be Keil

Reviews

Beloved author and radio persona Keillor (A Prairie Home Companion Pretty Good Joke Book) returns once again to Lake Wobegon, the quintessential small town in Minnesota. It is summer, and as the denizens of Lake Wobegon sit on their front porches, listening to the radio and to the swish of sprinklers on their lawns, 14-year-old Gary struggles to find his own place within the community. Gary suffers from all the hormonally induced anxieties of an adolescent boy but bears an added burden his family belongs to an evangelical group of Brethren whose definitions of appropriate behavior are much stricter than those most parents impose on their teenagers. Gary has, by his own admission, been a good boy, but he is now exploring what it means to be bad as "bad" is defined in 1950s Lake Wobegon. Keillor's wry vignettes of Gary's summer of change and turmoil are laced with his trademark self-deprecating humor. This latest will undoubtedly appeal to Keillor's legions of fans and particularly to those with a nostalgia for both the small town and the follies of youth. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/01.] Caroline Hallsworth, Sudbury P.L., Ont. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

'It will have you tearing through the pages.' Observer

With a four-year hiatus since Wobegon Boy, legions of Keillor faithful will likely hold candlelight vigils in front of their favorite booksellers awaiting the arrival of this long overdue episode in the ongoing checkered history of the fictional Minnesota hamlet. Vacillating between poignant, endearing, outrageous and mocking, this thoroughly engaging, frequently hilarious bildungsroman is narrated by the libidinous, iconoclastic 14-year-old wannabe writer Gary. Recounting the trials and tribulations of coming of age under the smothering influence of the Sanctified Brethren, a religious sect preaching unrelenting hellfire and damnation during the summer of 1956 in the tiny backwater of Lake Wobegon, the somewhat nerdy hero has a sexual fixation on his slightly older cousin Kate, abhors his geeky goody-two-shoes older sister, is obsessed with pornographic sexual fantasies engendered from reading a purloined copy of the verboten magazine High School Orgies, and is preoccupied by such intellectual pursuits as classifying variations of the 10 known categories of flatulence. Given an Underwood typewriter as a bribe from his uncle to tattletale on Kate's romance with a ne'er-do-well local baseball hero, Gary turns to writing pornographic stories about his imagined adventures with Kate before he is serendipitously handed the job of substitute sportswriter for the local paper. Game after game, he is forced to observe Kate's budding romance, until the affair predictably culminates in the age-old biological consequence and the family spins into crisis mode while our hero suffers a broken heart. Although the denouement is more fizzle than bang, avid Keillorites will be left shouting "more." 25-city author tour. (Aug. 27) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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