The Whole Town's Talking : Elmwood Springs

  • by Fannie Flagg
  • Narrated by Kimberly Farr
  • Series: Elmwood Springs
  • 12 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

From the beloved author of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe comes another unforgettable, laugh-out-loud, and moving novel about what it means to be truly alive.
Elmwood Springs, Missouri, is a small town like any other, but something strange is happening out at the cemetery. Still Meadows, as it's called, is anything but still. Funny and profound, this novel in the tradition of Flagg's Can't Wait to Get to Heaven and Thornton Wilder's Our Town deals with universal themes of heaven and earth and everything in between, as Flagg tells a surprising story of life, afterlife, and the mysterious goings-on of ordinary people.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Epic Novel

I have always enjoyed a Fannie Flagg story. She has such interesting and wholesome characters.

This story takes place in Elmwood Springs, Missouri from 1889 to 2021. Our protagonist is Swede Loudor Nordstrom. He has a mail order bride and eventually becomes the Mayor of Elmwood Springs. Then he dies and Lordor wakes up in the cemetery. Turns out after people die they remain for a while as spirits in the cemetery. The story winds its way through generations of Elmwood citizens. Flagg goes back and forth between the living community and the dead one.

The book is well written and has a different approach to telling a story with the intertwining of characters living and dead. There is little action and the pace is slow. There is a bit of suspense late in the book with a murder. Mainly the story is about fascinating characters. As usual Flagg displays a wide range of emotions throughout the story. The book makes for a different old fashion type of story. I discovered after the fact that this is book four in a series called Elmwood.

Kimberly Farr does a good job narrating the book. Farr is a theatre actor and audiobook narrator.

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- Jean

Skipping stones

I was in the mood for a bright witty slice of life that I usually find in Fannie’s writing, but this did not quite fit the bill. I loved the concept of the spirits of passed-on villagers reuniting in the cemetery on the hill, but nothing much was made of it. Because of the long time line and massive cast that was covered, there was no depth to any of them. It was like looking at small snapshots of a large family tree and not really getting to know who the members were at heart. The original Swedish settlers were the best formed and I was drawn in early on. But as the generations passed, less and less care was given to character development so that by the time we get to the late 20th century and beyond, mere minutes are given to whole decades. Like skipping stones on a pond, only small areas are actually touched and the ripples only go so far – and no depth is achieved with the contact. Reducing the cast and focusing on key characters would have been more satisfying. I liked it well enough – maybe close to a 3.5, but can’t quite round up to 4.

The narration nearly had me quitting and returning the book within the first hour. At less than 1 minute the sample didn’t give me enough of an idea of the style, but the ponderously slow delivery with dramatic pauses made it a “reading”, not a story telling if you get the difference. Fortunately when I increased the IPod speed there was a much more normal flow to the words and I was able to finish.
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- Janice

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-29-2016
  • Publisher: Random House Audio