Friday, 16 January 2015

LAKE WOBEGON DAYS by Garrison Keillor

This is an odd sort of memoir. It's not so much a memoir of Garrison Keillor, in particular, as it is of the world he grew up in. It's a story of a small Minnesotan town, called Lake Wobegon. I'm always amazed by memoir. How do people seem to remember so much of their childhoods? When I look back, it's a blur of nuns and jacarandas and cousins. I suspect it's all rather fuzzy really for most people, and that memoir should in fact be filed under fiction. I read recently that the age at which children can form memories is exactly the same age at which they understand the concept of story. This I think is revealing, raising the question if after all memories are much more than fiction.

LAKE WOBEGON is in any case a charming and touching piece of fiction, capturing very well the provincial Midwest, where people are astoundingly parochial, and astonishingly kind. Keillor runs a popular radio show, which is very funny, and this book is comic too. Here's one quick sample - men on a duck hunt:
Of these grizzled old comrades in their big jackets and brown ponchos, gray-haired veterans of so many hunts, good pals and true, the finest men by God that you could ever hope to meet - who knows which ones will never see another October? They all are well into heart-attack country now, where life's road gets steep and a man is easily winded. Women go on and on but men drop like flies around this age.

I like this, about women going on and on. Perhaps it's some kind of late payment for having to have legs, have babies, etc.

No comments:

Post a Comment