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Leaving Home: 2a Collection of Lake Wobegon Stories; Limited Edition

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Revisit the beguiling comic world of Lake Wobegon. In the first collection of Lake Wobegon monologues, Keillor tells readers ore about some of the people from Lake Wobegon Days and introduces some new faces. "Leaving Home is a book of exceptional charm . . . delightful . . . genuinely touching".--The Wall Street Journal. Available in early December.


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Revisit the beguiling comic world of Lake Wobegon. In the first collection of Lake Wobegon monologues, Keillor tells readers ore about some of the people from Lake Wobegon Days and introduces some new faces. "Leaving Home is a book of exceptional charm . . . delightful . . . genuinely touching".--The Wall Street Journal. Available in early December.

30 review for Leaving Home: 2a Collection of Lake Wobegon Stories; Limited Edition

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Garrison Keillor is my favorite storyteller. He has an amazing gift of calming and soothing and forcing you to think and remember and contemplate and enjoy – all in the half stupor of contentment. Most of these stories don’t even have a tangible point. There’s no moral. There’s no lesson to be learned or underlying archetypal subplot defining a genre and exploding with controversy. They’re just stories about a small town in Minnesota and the people’s lives who live there. And part of that is the Garrison Keillor is my favorite storyteller. He has an amazing gift of calming and soothing and forcing you to think and remember and contemplate and enjoy – all in the half stupor of contentment. Most of these stories don’t even have a tangible point. There’s no moral. There’s no lesson to be learned or underlying archetypal subplot defining a genre and exploding with controversy. They’re just stories about a small town in Minnesota and the people’s lives who live there. And part of that is the essence of what makes them so wonderful. The illustrations and allusions and quirky personality makes up 49% of it’s greatness – and their simplicity makes up another 49%. And the last two percent, is just pure Garrison Keillor magic.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Brett

    As always with Keillor, my thoughts on his fiction are colored by being from a place pretty similar to the Lake Wobegone of his books. I always think of the people he writes about as "my people" and am therefore prepossesed to liking his work. Still, I don't think I'm way off base by saying this book has a lot of humanity in it. If I have it right, all of the 30 or so chapters that make up Leaving Home are taken from Keillor's radio show and transcribed. As usual, they concern the small time goi As always with Keillor, my thoughts on his fiction are colored by being from a place pretty similar to the Lake Wobegone of his books. I always think of the people he writes about as "my people" and am therefore prepossesed to liking his work. Still, I don't think I'm way off base by saying this book has a lot of humanity in it. If I have it right, all of the 30 or so chapters that make up Leaving Home are taken from Keillor's radio show and transcribed. As usual, they concern the small time goings-on in a small Minnesota community. The characters feels true to life--both small-minded and sometimes generous. I was often touched by the writing, and though this book is less dark than some of Keillor's other published work that did not appear on the radio, there is still a surprisingly small amount of nostolgia. In my view, the Upper Plains states couldn't find a better chronicler of their collective experience than Keillor. Like the citizens themselves, Keillor's work is subdued, with gentle humor. Sometimes reactionary, sometimes seeking escape, sometimes reveling in the familiar and sometimes coming to terms with their own lives with a surprising honesty.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Colin

    'It's been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon'...I don't often re-read books as I've always got too many new ones waiting to be read, but I love Garrison Keillor's stories so much that I'm always happy to read them again. I first read Leaving Home back in the eighties, and, feeling the need for a warm, comforting sort of midwinter read, picked it off my bookshelf as I finished my last book and was soon lost in Keillor's wonderful stories of life among the Norwegian Lutherans of this forgotten corner o 'It's been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon'...I don't often re-read books as I've always got too many new ones waiting to be read, but I love Garrison Keillor's stories so much that I'm always happy to read them again. I first read Leaving Home back in the eighties, and, feeling the need for a warm, comforting sort of midwinter read, picked it off my bookshelf as I finished my last book and was soon lost in Keillor's wonderful stories of life among the Norwegian Lutherans of this forgotten corner of northern Minnesota. I admire his humour, his ability to make great stories out of the simplest and most ordinary of lives, and his love for his characters. There's a passage in 'Hansel', probably my favourite story in the collection, that sums this up very well: 'walking in the mysterious light of a warm snowy winter night in Lake Wobegon, it's not certain what year this is but it is certain that in this world that we think we know so well, and in our life that we're always talking about, there is a great mystery and powerful music playing that we don't hear and stories full of magic, so many stories that life isn't long enough to tell them all'. A quiet week in Lake Wobegon perhaps, but each of those quiet weeks has plenty of stories full of music and magic. C

  4. 4 out of 5

    theresa

    classic stories of lake woebegone, funny as all hell. i love prairie home companion so when i found this for free outside of the very cute jackson, nh library i scooped it up. very easy reading and perfect for an afternoon on a screened in porch in a small town.

  5. 5 out of 5

    keith koenigsberg

    Another in the Lake Wobegon franchise, this book is a compendium of, what seems to be, his radio monologues. They offer the familiar tableau, but are a shade less enjoyable than his others (below). Perhaps they suffer from the weekly nature - some are better than others, and they don't hang together as a narrative. They come off as sketches for what we know can be grander. Highly recommend his other books but save this one for last.

  6. 5 out of 5

    L. (Maybe you can have too many books)

    2.5 stars. This is a straight down the middle book. It wasn't interesting, it wasn't boring. It wasn't good, it wasn't bad. It just was. Garrison Keillor is both participant and omniscient god as he relates the stories of various inhabitants of Lake Wobegon. Stories that ultimately don't go anywhere or accomplish anything. I know there are readers who don't mind if a story has no purpose. I am not one of those people.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Leanne

    From my 1991 Journal: I am reading Leaving Home, only it is more like sitting up and paying attention to life. Garrison Keillor captures the beauty in the most mundane of moments. Here are some lines I like: Every summer I'm a little bigger, but riding the ferris wheel, I feel the same as ever, I feel eternal. . .The wheel carries us up high, high, high, and stops, and we sit swaying, creaking in the dark . . .[one year I had this vision]: little kids holding on to their daddy's hand, and he is me From my 1991 Journal: I am reading Leaving Home, only it is more like sitting up and paying attention to life. Garrison Keillor captures the beauty in the most mundane of moments. Here are some lines I like: Every summer I'm a little bigger, but riding the ferris wheel, I feel the same as ever, I feel eternal. . .The wheel carries us up high, high, high, and stops, and we sit swaying, creaking in the dark . . .[one year I had this vision]: little kids holding on to their daddy's hand, and he is me. He looks down on them with love and buys them another corn dog. They are worried they will lose him, they hang on to his leg with one hand, eat with the other. This vision is unbearably wonderful. Then the wheel brings me down to the ground. We get off and other people get on. Thank you, dear God, for this good life and forgive us if we do not love it enough." (p. 124) Old age is like birds in the winter. It's hard to keep going. But you still have your good days, and one good day makes you want to keep on. I use to get so upset if any little thing went wrong. Now everything goes wrong and it doesn't bother me, and some little thing is so wonderful--if my son writes me a letter, that's wonderful. And if he puts in a picture of my grandchildren, then that's just about everything." (p.146) Thank you Garrison Keillor for loving life and taking the time to know it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Dale

    A Return to Lake Wobegon (for me) Originally published in 1987. I stepped away from Garrison Keillor for a while. I don't know why, but I forgot about Lake Wobegon for about 15 years. But, I have returned for the occasional visit for a couple of years now and I find that I missed these stories. Having grown up Lutheran in rural Indiana I find quite a connection with these stories. Keillor melancholy yet heartwarming stories of the people in and around the fictional Minnesota town of Lake Wobegon ar A Return to Lake Wobegon (for me) Originally published in 1987. I stepped away from Garrison Keillor for a while. I don't know why, but I forgot about Lake Wobegon for about 15 years. But, I have returned for the occasional visit for a couple of years now and I find that I missed these stories. Having grown up Lutheran in rural Indiana I find quite a connection with these stories. Keillor melancholy yet heartwarming stories of the people in and around the fictional Minnesota town of Lake Wobegon are worth a re-visit if you have stayed away. Deft turns of the phrase like "Corinne doesn't believe in God, but there is some evidence to show that God believes in her. She has a gift to teach, a sacred gift. Fifteen years in dreary bluish-green classrooms, pacing as she talks, this solid woman carries a flame" (p. 23) make you nod your head in appreciation. Towards the end, a couple from Lake Wobegon is trying to take a trip to Hawaii. Keillor's extended discussion on why the glamour of "paradise" is wasted on Minnesotans and how heaven will be just as wasted is great sly understated humor with a sweet comment that starts with... Read more at: http://dwdsreviews.blogspot.com/2013/...

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jillian

    Last year, here in Australia, I had a visitor from Minnesota. My brother reminded me of Garrison Keillor and bought me a copy of this book. We had listened to his radio broadcasts in the 80s. It was a joy to read these broadcasts. Keillor conjures the community with such affection. His story-telling is at its best when direct - with short and deceptively simple sentences that undercut each other: "Daryl is forty-two years old and he's got no more ownership of this farm than if he'd gone off and b Last year, here in Australia, I had a visitor from Minnesota. My brother reminded me of Garrison Keillor and bought me a copy of this book. We had listened to his radio broadcasts in the 80s. It was a joy to read these broadcasts. Keillor conjures the community with such affection. His story-telling is at its best when direct - with short and deceptively simple sentences that undercut each other: "Daryl is forty-two years old and he's got no more ownership of this farm than if he'd gone off and been a drunk like his bother Gunnar. Sometimes he gets so mad at the old man, he screams at him. But always when he's on the tractor in the middle of the field with the motor running. Once he left a rake in th yard with the tines up, hoping his dad would step on it and brain himself" It is, however, his intelligent observation and empathy underpinning his stories that draws us in. He sees and understands motivation, fears, hopes, dreams, jealousies, weariness - and a myriad or human drives. He exposes them with humour. He makes us identify with them because he is himself always an insider as well as somewhat outside. Reading these episodes has been warming, amusing and good for the spirit.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lawrence Kelley

    Liberal-Minded Contraband @ Fort Knox, during Basic Training? I love Garrison, and even followed his example by traveling to Scandinavia in 1986. But heck, I was learning to kill Commies, after all, and practiced shooting at the Red-Star pop-up targets on the firing range. Fearing it would be taken away from me and getting into trouble, I tossed this book into a barrel, just before beginning my (4) months of Cavalry Scout (19-Delta) training, just to be safe. It was still Reagan's U.S. Army. How Liberal-Minded Contraband @ Fort Knox, during Basic Training? I love Garrison, and even followed his example by traveling to Scandinavia in 1986. But heck, I was learning to kill Commies, after all, and practiced shooting at the Red-Star pop-up targets on the firing range. Fearing it would be taken away from me and getting into trouble, I tossed this book into a barrel, just before beginning my (4) months of Cavalry Scout (19-Delta) training, just to be safe. It was still Reagan's U.S. Army. However, still was able to channel "subversive" liberal thoughts by quietly enjoying - in the dark of night in the dormatory I slept in - The Waterboy's Fisherman's Blues, New Order's Technique and PSB's Introspective, on my faux Walkman, underneath the scratchy green blankets, during my Cav-Scout training. :)

  11. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    I enjoyed the amusing and stirring vinettes about the fictional town of Lake Wobegone. I listen to the Prarie Home Companion News From Lake Wobegone podcast (oh technology, linking the lost art of live radio with my interweb surfing), and I heard Keillor's slow, flat voice in my head the whole time I was reading this book. I had a little trouble telling who the narrator was at first - was it Keillor, a non-specific townsperson, someone else? - until another character mentioned the narrator by na I enjoyed the amusing and stirring vinettes about the fictional town of Lake Wobegone. I listen to the Prarie Home Companion News From Lake Wobegone podcast (oh technology, linking the lost art of live radio with my interweb surfing), and I heard Keillor's slow, flat voice in my head the whole time I was reading this book. I had a little trouble telling who the narrator was at first - was it Keillor, a non-specific townsperson, someone else? - until another character mentioned the narrator by name (Gary, hehee). I'm excited to read his new LW novel, Pontoon, which I got at the bookstore yesterday.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Linda Abhors the New GR Design

    I grew up in the Midwest, and we´re always taught that there´s nothing special about us. We´re raised to be humble. As such, I didn´t really appreciate Keillor until I´d moved away. The reason I first read this book was that I´d seen a dance performance based on one of the stories. Yep, a dance performance! It was so funny that I had to read the rest of the books, I haven´t stopped since, and it drew me to NPR. Moving to the East Coast, I discovered that yes, indeed there is something VERY specia I grew up in the Midwest, and we´re always taught that there´s nothing special about us. We´re raised to be humble. As such, I didn´t really appreciate Keillor until I´d moved away. The reason I first read this book was that I´d seen a dance performance based on one of the stories. Yep, a dance performance! It was so funny that I had to read the rest of the books, I haven´t stopped since, and it drew me to NPR. Moving to the East Coast, I discovered that yes, indeed there is something VERY special about the Midwest, something that you never truly appreciate until you´ve moved away. For those of you who have never lived there, and think it´s nothing special, give it a try.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Vishvapani

    I love Garrison Keillor. It's racy stuff and there are big changes in Lake Woebegone in this volume. Darlene leaves the Chatterbox Cafe and ... well, that's about it really. In fact I am considering moving to Minnesota, becoming Norwegian and joining to the Church of the Sanctified Brethren. However, I am not sure of the process of converting to being Norwegian. The greatest compliment you could pay to Garrison Keillor is that he makes what he does seem so easy and effortless. Funny, charming, kn I love Garrison Keillor. It's racy stuff and there are big changes in Lake Woebegone in this volume. Darlene leaves the Chatterbox Cafe and ... well, that's about it really. In fact I am considering moving to Minnesota, becoming Norwegian and joining to the Church of the Sanctified Brethren. However, I am not sure of the process of converting to being Norwegian. The greatest compliment you could pay to Garrison Keillor is that he makes what he does seem so easy and effortless. Funny, charming, knowing, sad, insightful, and all done with such warm-hearted ease.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Phillip

    Garrison Keiller's take on rural life is a refreshing blend of modern sensibility and nostalgia. He pits the denizens of Lake Wobegon against all the vagaries of life that keep us wondering who we really have on our side. Whether maintaining a livelihood, managing a household, leading a congregation, or nursing a relationship, the Lake Wobegon way of doing things always seems to be a makeshift way. His tales are bright with humor and warm with empathy.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Rathbun

    Although we didn't have a TV when I was growing up, my parents did let us listen to a Prarie Home Companion. I loved listening to the Lake Woebegone stories, so I'm so glad to have them collected in a book where I can reread them and enjoy their humor and poignancy. My favorite of all time is "Truckstop."

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lulu

    Leaving Home was the first Garrison Keillor I'd read, and it's my favourite of his books. The stories still make me smile, laugh, and even tear up a little. Bits of them read like poetry to me. My partner and I sometimes take our dog-eared copy camping with us, and we take turns reading the stories aloud while tucked up in our sleeping bags.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    Lake Wobegon is the place she the women are all strong, the men are good looking and the children are all above average. And in this small volume of short stories Kellior takes us back to this small town and the people who live there. There are some entertaining stories in here, and other that are less good. But it is nicely written with some razor sharp wit.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Katherine Eanes

    Garrison Keillor has a unique brand of humor you either love or hate, I personally love it! This book is not a novel, but a collection of stories about hometown life in Lake Wobegon from an author with a unique voice. Don't miss it!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Char

    This is fun to read out loud, in my best Garrison Keillor voice -- not really, but I do read it out loud to my daughter and she invariably falls asleep. But, I love it and it makes me laugh. I do wonder, though, if you'd have to have lived in the Midwest to get all of the humor?

  20. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    What a wonderful way to begin a year of reading. Something light and funny in Lake Wobegon. A true feel good read where all the women are strong.......

  21. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Coverly

    Beautiful, funny, and heartwarming. I will be back to this small town escapism

  22. 4 out of 5

    Steven Meyers

    ‘Leaving Home’ was published in 1987. It was the same year Mr. Keillor decided to abandon his popular NPR show ‘Prairie Home Companion’ after thirteen years and move to Denmark. Back then, it shocked his followers. Eventually he came back. Apparently, Denmark was too much of “getting away from it all.” This collection of monologues is the material of the year prior to him leaving. It begins in the Spring and meanders through the different seasons, pointing out how the citizens of fictional Lake ‘Leaving Home’ was published in 1987. It was the same year Mr. Keillor decided to abandon his popular NPR show ‘Prairie Home Companion’ after thirteen years and move to Denmark. Back then, it shocked his followers. Eventually he came back. Apparently, Denmark was too much of “getting away from it all.” This collection of monologues is the material of the year prior to him leaving. It begins in the Spring and meanders through the different seasons, pointing out how the citizens of fictional Lake Wobegone managed through supposedly uneventful lives. There is no intricate plot or breathtaking climax. The author’s observations of the mundane are insightful, whimsical, and nostalgic. With one exception, all of the short chapters begin with “It has been a quiet week in Lake Wobegone.” The monologues are all about six to eight pages long. It’s a nice length if you need something to kill time while pinching off a loaf. Lake Wobegone is located in Minnesota and the author describes his home state with many of the attributes also found here in Maine. Religion permeates the whole collection but Mr. Keillor does not treat faith harshly. He does take a few gentle digs at the truly devout and there are some moments where even deeply religious people will likely find funny. However, please note that the book does include some profanity. More often, the author successfully uses his colorful wordplay to phrase off-colored material into folksy euphemisms. I lost count how many times I laughed at his creative idiomatic expressions. Despite it sometimes dealing with such things as death, divorce, jealousy, and family tension, ‘Leaving Home’ is a good-natured work. As one reviewer wrote back in 1987, Mr. Keillor has a subtle wry wit. I wholeheartedly agree. What I also find endearing about the author’s work is how he taps into many of the thoughts we quietly have about life. Even anxieties are effectively mined for humor. ‘Leaving Home’ is the kind of material that helps me relax and put everyday happenings into perspective. I’ll take it.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Allen Perry

    I've read a few of Garrison Keillor's longer books of single "Lake Wobegon" stories. They never seem to quite fit. The short stories are quick and packed full of character. Each has its own moral tale or life lesson. I really enjoyed this book and was so engrossed I actually felt a pang of loss knowing that when he wrote this he had left PHC and was unsure of his future and the future of Lake Wobegon. We all of course know that both PHC and Lake Wobegon were revived a few years later. Great piec I've read a few of Garrison Keillor's longer books of single "Lake Wobegon" stories. They never seem to quite fit. The short stories are quick and packed full of character. Each has its own moral tale or life lesson. I really enjoyed this book and was so engrossed I actually felt a pang of loss knowing that when he wrote this he had left PHC and was unsure of his future and the future of Lake Wobegon. We all of course know that both PHC and Lake Wobegon were revived a few years later. Great piece and worth the time to read.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Wes F

    This is one of Keillor's earlier books, published in 1987. I think we bought this book in Hong Kong, back, oh, probably 1989. I think I had started it once, but never finished it. It's been trailing us all these years--and now, 30 years later (!), I've finished it! I do love Keillor's off-beat humorous take on the Norwegian descendants living up in "Lake Wobegon." I've also great enjoyed various "Home Companion" series on public radio through the years.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rob Buechner

    Half star. When the baby boomers die Keillor's sales will dip drastically. If you enjoy G-rated anecdotes that are splattered into a book without much rhyme or reason, you will enjoy this. The writing is decent, but the content is so bland and somehow disconnected from what writing is supposed to do: entertain while SAYING SOMETHING, that it ends up feeling like a bunch of Ziggy cartoons written out and strung together, but less poingent and they take up a lot more of you time. The book is virtu Half star. When the baby boomers die Keillor's sales will dip drastically. If you enjoy G-rated anecdotes that are splattered into a book without much rhyme or reason, you will enjoy this. The writing is decent, but the content is so bland and somehow disconnected from what writing is supposed to do: entertain while SAYING SOMETHING, that it ends up feeling like a bunch of Ziggy cartoons written out and strung together, but less poingent and they take up a lot more of you time. The book is virtually bereft of actual wit. Oh, and he will talk about God. A lot.

  26. 5 out of 5

    David

    This is decent. The stories are good and I like the laid back, homespun style of the tales. Not too repetitive of his other stuff. It can get a bit too laid back though. Meandering is part of its charm, but I could sometimes space out and lose the thread. I didn't always feel like bothering to try to follow.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Michael Paynter

    I am admittedly a huge fan of Garrison Keillor and his storytelling skills. This collection of Lake Wobegon stories, built around the theme of leaving the familiar behind to try something new, does what these stories always do; hold the carnival mirror up to nature, getting us to laugh at ourselves and believe in the good in the process.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Timothy Rooney

    This was a bit better than the first book. Having each story be a separate, short story made a continuous, connected plot unnecessary. Although Keillor's dry style can leave one waiting for the punchline--only to be just mildly amused, some of the stories near the end of the book did spark audible laughter from me.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Patricia

    I will always be a fan of Garrison's work. I laughed all the way through his pieces....as I became friends with the Lutherans and the Bachelor Farmers. I've shared his poems with many friends, I'm sad that he is no longer performing. I hope he continues to write

  30. 4 out of 5

    Gena

    Keillor is always so pleasant to read or hear. The stories are entertaining and funny with Keillor's own voice and subtle touches of philosophy or life lessons. I love the personalities in Lake Wobegon.

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