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A hilarious coming-of-age novel, Lake Wobegon Summer 1956 serves up the world according to 14-year-old Gary, an endearing geek, a self-described 'tree-toad', and a writer-in-the-making whose best friend is his Underwood typewriter. Always with humour, and often with great sympathy, charm and honesty, the author tells us a story that both satirizes and celebrates the traumas and the passions of adolescence. In this, his latest novel, Keillor takes us back to a newly-minted America. With its postwar optimism and Cold War suspicions of outsiders, the 1950s are evoked in unforgettable Wobegon fashion.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780571210244
ISBN-10: 0571210244
Format: Paperback
(199mm x 129mm x 23mm)
Pages: 304
Imprint: Faber & Faber
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publish Date: 2-Sep-2002
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


UK Kirkus Review » If you have wondered what huckleberries tastes like, or precisely what a shortstop does, or the distinction between ironic (English) and laconic (American), then Garrison Keillor is your man and this latest is the book for you. If ever an author wrote colloquial prose in a distinctive tone of voice, it is Keillor. Anyone fortunate enough to have heard him broadcast or to have attended one of his readings will not only immediately upon opening his latest Wobegone saga recognize his rhythm, but will also hear his dry twang between their ears from first page to last. 'She wore green shorts and a black cowboy hat and dark glasses and was smoking in public,' writes the thinly fictionalized protagonist, remembering Kate, the deep, true crush of his adolescence. 'An outfielder leaned against the fence, talking to her. From his gestures it looked like he was describing how he shot a couple of guys and it was no big deal.' Young Gary is born smart and rebellious, a hayseed Holden Caulfield coming of age in a separatist sect called Sanctified Brethren in Lake Wobegon, a small Minnesota town composed mainly of German Catholics and Norwegian Lutherans 'whom Scripture tells us to keep clear of'. Gary's struggle to free himself sexually and artistically is no less because nobody around him, not family or community, is evil or means him harm. They are all good,too good, stultified - frozen emotionally like his father; unsophisticated and defensively, stubbornly stupid, like his fat, sanctimonious, doomed sister. Although the actors in Keillor's story are not aware of it, of course, they are living in the last decade that could shelter such a degree of small-minded innocence in the United States. Thus, the author is writing about a time, the 1950's referred to in the title, as much as he is about a place and its people. All books are journeys. And Keillor is a good travelling companion, wry and honest, and just a shade more melancholy, serious, even angry here than in the past. (Kirkus UK)

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Author Biography - Garrison Keillor

Garrison Keillor lives in St Paul, Minnesota, home of A Prairie Home Companion, his radio show that has been on the air since 1974. He wrote and appeared in Robert Altman's final film, A Prairie Home Companion and is the author of many books including the Lake Wobegon novels, which include Lake Wobegon Days, Pontoon and Pilgrims.

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