Susan Crosland

Lake Wobegon USA

Lake Wobegon USA

By

Hodder Headline Audiobooks 6 CDs or cassettes £14.99 order from our bookshop

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

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Start your week with a dose of Russian Revolutionary zeal. Donald Rayfield reviews Tobie Mathew's 'Greetings From t… ,
    • A treat from the LR Archive: exactly 20 years ago, Malcolm Bradbury reviewed John Updike's 'Bech at Bay' ,
    • ‘When bullets come close, the noise they make as they go past changes from a zing to a crack’ John Lanchester's dy… ,
    • Man with a Bloody Paintbrush: Robin Simon on Lucian Freud ,
    • Jane Ridley reviews The Diaries of Kenneth Rose (ed. D R Thorpe) ,
    • ‘Look,’ says Trump. ‘The fact is I’m only human.’ On the evidence of this book that point is debatable. From the A… ,
    • From our December/January issue - here's John Banville's review of Colm Tóibín on the fathers of Wilde, Yeats and J… ,