Book Review: Garrison Keillor ~ Lake Woebegon Days (1985)

Garrison is a radio star in the mid-West of the USA. His show is a slow conversational series of supposed memories. He speaks in a drawling and yet compelling voice and once hooked…. If you’ve heard his voice then the stories have a wonderful intimacy. He draws you into his world and you share the laid back passions of life in a dull-as-ditchwater town where nothing happens.

Nothing happens except that something is always happening. Lake Woebegon Days is the antidote of 24 ‘News’. Time is measured in decades where nothing is forgotten. Incidents on the sports field are etched in memory and school experiences are vivid years later. Passions are roused by very conservative views on religion with heated, but icily polite, debates. Every denomination is represented and each one is a ghetto of prejudice. Garrison’s satire keeps it kind, loving and wonderful. The quotation is about religious identity:-

Our Lake Woebegon bunch was part of the Sanctified Brethren branch known as the Cox Brethren, which was one of a number of ‘exclusive’ Brethren branches- that is, to non-Coxians, we were known as ‘Cox Brethren’; to ourselves, we were simply The Brethren, the last remnant of the true Church. Our name came from Brother Cox who was kicked out of the Johnson Brethren in 1932- for preaching the truth! p106

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