Saturday, October 10, 2009


A Woebegone Romance
Garrison Kiellor

I used to listen to A Prairie Home Companion and I even enjoyed hearing Mr. Kiellor talk, even though it was mostly lies, about Lake Woebegone and the people out there on the edge of the prairie. Those are my people he's talking about after all. I liked the show just fine except that somebody ought to tell Mr. Kiellor that he shouldn't sing. He's not a singer and no radio show is going to make him one, even if he is the one that runs the show.

I have tried to read some of Mr. Kiellor's books before but never succeeded in finishing one. This time I stuck it out because it is my duty to write a post about it. The book is made up mostly out of stuff taken right out of his Saturday night monologues, which is all right, I guess. He is getting double use out of a lot of it. I wonder if he gets paid twice when he uses the same material over like that. It doesn't really seem fair, does it? Anyway, Mr. Kiellor has sent a group of people from Lake Woebegone on a trip to Rome, the one in Italy, to glue a plasticized picture of a WWII hero, from Lake Woebegone, on his gravestone in the cemetery where he is buried, which is conveniently located in Rome.

One thing that Mr. Kiellor did was stick himself right into the book, like he was some kind of post modernist big shot, like my friend Mr. Barth or somebody, but he is about thirty years too late with that trick and it just makes him look like he's full of himself. The other people in the book, the one's from Lake Woebegone, see right through him, with his sneaky little notebook, writing down everything they say. They know that he is going to put them all in a book and make gobs more money out of them. They're not impressed, even if he did pay for their trip to Italy.

The romance part of the book is mostly about Margie Krebsbach and her husband Carl or sometime about Carl, who is a bit of a old duff and doesn't get very romantic, even if he is a German Catholic and not a Norwegian Lutheran, but there's also an Italian guy named Paulo. Father Wilmer even gets in a little romance for a paragraph or two. If you used to listen to A Prairie Home Companion then you might not know that Father Wilmer took over at Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility after Father Emil retired, which was quite a few years ago. Well it looks like Father Wilmer is on his way out now, too, because he got hurt in a car accident and then, in the hospital he fell in love with his nurse and they've been seeing each other in secret, but anyway, that's neither here nor there.

There are some really bad poems that Mr. Keillor wrote, in the book too, which it didn't need at all. Somebody should tell Mr. Kiellor that he's not a poet, either. It takes more that a bachelor's degree from the University of Minnesota to make a poet out of someone. I know that he writes song parodies for his show all the time, but it's the music that carries them and he has some professional musicians to make it work, but he doesn't have any musicians to carry his poetry in this book.

Well I finished the book and I guess it's OK, but Mr. Kiellor is going to make some people back home in Lake Woebegone really mad when they find out what he's been saying about them - again.


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