Sunday, December 28, 2008

Garrison Keillor is back in grumpy mode, and Jane Smiley finds herself shouting 'Hallelujah!'
Jane Smiley writing in The Guardian, Saturday 27 December 2008

In his 30 years of broadcasting and publishing fiction, Garrison Keillor has set the laugh bar pretty high. Lots of people can remember exactly where they were and what they were doing while listening to the Prairie Home Companion monologue in which, say, the Homecoming Queen riding on the fender of the tank comes face to face with the farmer hauling his filled-up septic tank (an old car) to the town dump, or the one where the guy next door keeps using his new TV remote to turn on his neighbour's TV.

Liberty : A Novel of Lake Wobegon
by Garrison Keillor

Keillor doesn't always meet his own standards, and has sometimes seemed (imagine!) to resent our demands. There's another Garrison Keillor trying to get out - a man with a more thoughtful take on things, who would like us not to be always waiting for the laugh. But too bad. We are.

It was the more thoughtful Keillor who was on display in his last Lake Wobegon novel, Pontoon, a meditation on death that was considerably less grumpy than, say, Keillor's first novel (and one of my favourites), WLT: A Radio Romance. The grumpy Garrison is back in Liberty, and I say, "Hallelujah!"
Read Jane Smiley's thoughtful review at The Guardian online.
I have just read this novel, laughed ut loud, funniest book I have read in many a long day and I agree with Jane Smiley's opinion. He is right back to his brilliant, entertaining best.

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