A Prairie Home Companion: English Majors

Garrison Keillor, With
Garrison Keillor, With , read by the author and others. HighBridge Audio $24.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-59887-588-1
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Leave it to Keillor to satirize “Guy Noir: Private Eye,” by exposing the M.F.A. degree as a tool of organized crime. The parodies of American literature, however, including Dickinson, Frost and Hawthorne, are generally sophomoric. You know whose woods these are. The collection of vintage performances improves in a 10-minute rendition of Macbeth , with the lead character as Mr. Rogers and Lady Macbeth as Julia Child. There are two versions of Hamlet , both of which reduce Ophelia's madness to “La, la, la.” Yes, that's a quote. The Prairie Home Companion cast members fare better when they move away from parody. One of the best bits involves an English major (Keillor) working at a fast food job and correcting customers' misuse of “who” or “whom.” Billy Collins's satirical ode to “The Lanyard” is both hilarious and astute. There are some nice fillers, including Meryl Streep reading Mary Oliver and Allen Ginsberg's overblown recital of Whitman's “Song of Myself.” In the end, listeners will feel that these two so-so CDs could have been reduced to one good one. (Feb.)

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