cover image Leaving Home: 2a Collection of Lake Wobegon Stories

Leaving Home: 2a Collection of Lake Wobegon Stories

Garrison Keillor. Viking Books, $18.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-670-81976-8

""Home,'' in Keillor's fictional world, is Lake Wobegon (the ``Gateway to Central Minnesota''), which the radio humorist introduced in print in Lake Wobegon Days. This collection of stories set in Lake Wobegon is taken from monologues performed on A Prairie Home Companion, Keillor's radio show; each one chronicles some kind of leave-taking or homecoming: trips to Minneapolis, high school graduations, attending the Minnesota State Fair, a waitress quitting her job at the Chatterbox Cafe, a boy joining the army, Father Emil retiring from Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility, family members returning to Lake Wobegon for Christmas. In the last story, from Keillor's final show, the storyteller bids farewell to his beloved hometown. Keillor has a rare gift for celebrating and finding humor in commonplace events, and his affection for his characters and for small-town life shines through. These short narratives survive the transition from performance to print beautifully; they are spare, artfully crafted vignettes that will move readers as well as entertain them. Some tales are wildly hilarious, others gently poignantbut all are simply wonderful. 750,000 first printing; BOMC and QPBC main selections; first serial to the Atlantic. (October 5)