Lake Wobegon USA by Garrison Keillor - review by Susan Crosland

Susan Crosland

Lake Wobegon USA

Lake Wobegon USA


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I HAVE NEVER been attracted to my idea of Lake Wobegon – all that folksiness. I was wrong. Its informed satire, by turns hilarious and poignant, applies across the social spectrum. The lead characters in The Krebsbachk Vacation are dead ringers for a couple I know who have been quarrelling for forty years, leading me to wonder why they don’t split. Garrison Keillor provides the answer. After yet another skirmish, the husband says: ‘Well OK, we could go, but we’d just have a fight. Fight, fight, fight. Why should I pay a lot of money to be miserable somewhere else when I can be miserable at home?’ Wife: ‘Well, there’s just no point in talking to you.’ Then they sit satisfied, happy, having completed this classic argument. In another of the seventeen sketches here, Keillor’s slightly reedy voice observes that since 1865, when America’s savage Civil War ended, ‘we’ve no idea what war is like in this country. Children sit and read this nonsense about honour and glory. To rain down death on other people is not becoming in God’s eyes.’ His timing is faultless, and I regretted the dstracting hyena-like laughter of the studio audience, often produced by nothing more comic than a mildly bawdy word. Susan Crosland

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