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By Christopher on 02-19-09
Great for a long country drive.
I have been a great fan of Garrison Keillor for over 20 years. Listening to Prairie Home Companion on relay to Australia has been part of our family Sunday evening tradition all that time. Some of the episodes in this tale were familiar from the "News From Lake Wobegone", but it was really great to have them connected in a continuous narrative. Garrison Keillor reads his tale really well. But I think that a huge part of the success of "News From Lake Wobegone" is the brilliant rapport between Garrison and his audience. The absense of this spark is the difference between four and five stars in my opinion.
I do wonder if listeners unfamilar with the folk of Lake Wobegone might miss some of the background knowledge that gives an instant picture of pesonalities when a name is first mentioned.
The quality of the reading and recording are first rate. If you are familiar with Lake Wobegone I think that you would really enjoy this audiobook, especially on a long drive to the Back of Beyond.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful
By Dubi on 10-27-14
Sixty Shades of Liberty
Clint Bunsen's midlife crisis arrives a little later than usual, the day he turns 60. His prized position as committee chair of Lake Wobegon's over-the-top Fourth of July celebration is taken away despite being so successful that it's being covered for the second straight year by CNN. His car business is withering on the vine. He has to decide whether to accept an offer to run for Congress. He may have a health issue. He has just discovered via a DNA test that he is of Spanish ancestry rather Norwegian like the other Wobegonians.
But more than anything else, his life is upended by a brief but torrid affair with the young woman who filled in last year as the Statue of Liberty in the Fourth of July parade. So much so that he regrets his long-ago decision to come home after leaving the navy and marry his high school sweetheart rather than staying in California and going to art school, and he is now considering the possibility of leaving his wife and Lake Wobegon to go to California with his new flame (a little too obviously named Angelica Pflame).
Clint Bunsen is a mainstay of Garrison Keillor's weekly NPR radio show segment, The News From Lake Wobegon. In Liberty, he gets his own novel, in which various shades of the concept of "liberty" are at the heart of his various personal crises. As usual, Clint's story is really just a fulcrum for another look at life in Lake Wobegon, filtered through the lens of its renowned multimedia chronicler, Keillor. If you're a fan of the radio show and think you would enjoy a novel-length installment about Wobegon, Liberty will work for you, especially since Keillor narrates his own book in his inimitable style.
Me, I really loved the first half of the book, when the focus was on the political machinations of the Fourth of July committee as they recap the previous Fourth and plan the next. I felt that the story lost steam when it shifted its attention to Clint's affair. I would argue that my flagging interest level was inevitable by definition once the story shifted focus because it became more about Clint than about Lake Wobegon -- fans of Lake Wobegon are fans of Keillor's satire of small-town life more than its individual inhabitants, except insofar as they interact with each other as part of the social fabric.
Nevertheless, Liberty was an enjoyable listen, wry if not laugh out loud funny, cleverly built around the concept of liberty, with the Fourth of July as an apt and grandiose metaphor as well as framing device, and, to reiterate, benefiting in the best possible way by being narrated by its golden-voiced author.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
By Everett T. McGill on 10-15-14
What did you like best about this story?
Garrison and his style and message and the words he uses. It's a masterpiece.
What does Garrison Keillor bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
His intonation. He is marvelous! If you do not love Mr. Keillor you are missing something.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
Yes, it made me love life, truth and creativity.
Any additional comments?
Please write more books Mr. Keillor Sir.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
By Darryl on 07-13-14
funny Lake Wobegon story
in all honesty i am not a Keillor "fan" as his drawling voice gets on my nerves and so I never got into the show.
however, I tried this on a friends recommendation who is a fan of the book and GK in general and my trepidation over his voice didn't come into play. I thought he read this very well and the story itself was very funny at times. as I said, i do not listen to the show, so there may be characters and such that will be familiar to fans, i do not know, but it didn't matter to the story for me.
I enjoyed the odd small town characters and situations, though I think he missed a couple of opportunities for some real wacky incidents in the parade that would have been totally in keeping with the story. but i had fun with it, it did what it was supposed to and i may try another of the Wobegon stories.
GK does have a great funny short baseball story in the funny shorts collection that he also narrates, so maybe he's better, at least for me, in this format as opposed to the slow paced radio show. though i think his readings of poetry with billy collins is hit and miss.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful