Synopses & Reviews
Wobegon goes abroad in this rousing and moving story of a group trip to Rome
Margie Krebsbach dreams up the idea of a trip to Rome, hoping to get her husband Carl to make love to her — he's been sleeping across the hall and she has no idea why. She finds a patriotic purpose for the journey. A Lake Wobegon boy, Gussy Norlander, died in the liberation of Rome, 1944, and his grave, according to his elderly brother, Norbert, is in a neglected weed patch near the Colosseum. So it's decided they will go to clean Gussy's final resting place. Margie is unprepared for the enthusiastic response — fifty people want to go with her, including her nemesis, the mayor of Lake Wobegon, Carl's bossy sister, Eloise, Mr. Berge the town drunk, and her treacherous mother-in-law. Margie fends off some of the would-be travelers with a graphic handout on the dangers of typhus and food poisoning and the seriousness of diarrhea, but ten applicants remain, though Carl is not sure he wants to go after all. At this, a heartbroken Margie gets the motley crew to the airport and aboard the plane, and then discovers one of the secret pleasures of travel — safely away from Lake Wobegon, the pilgrims' memories are quickened and they recall long-forgotten incidents. In the warm circle of kinship, as they enter alien territory, they tell stories of astonishing frankness and self-revelation all delivered with Keillor's trademark humor.
"Keillor re-justifies the comparisons to Mark Twain...by not only making his usual comic poetry out of Minnesota idiom but also by injecting some ludicrous saints' lives and papal history into the mix." Booklist
"Once the chuckles subside, [Keillor] leaves us with an engaging, moving look at the true, daily heroics." Washington Post
Lake Wobegon goes to Italy in Garrison Keillor's latest
Twelve Wobegonians fly to Rome to decorate a war hero's grave, led by Marjorie Krebsbach, with radio host Gary Keillor along for the ride. The pilgrimage is inspired by a phone call from an Italian woman seeking her Lake Wobegon roots and by a memoir O Paradiso by a farm wife who found the secret of life and love in Italy. And by marjorie's longing to win back the love of her husband Carl. Far from home, sitting in the rain in the Piazza Navona, the pilgrims talks about themselves, as they never could do in the Chatterbox Café.
"You're not going to write about this, I hope," says Irene Bunsen. "Of course I am. I invented this town," says Mr. Keillor. "Oh my, aren't you something," she replies.
About the Author
Garrison Keillor is America's favorite storyteller. For more than 30 years as the host of A Prairie Home Companion, he has captivated millions of public radio listeners with his weekly "News from Lake Wobegon" monologues. Keillor is also the author of several books and a frequent contributor to national publications including Time, the New Yorker, and National Geographic, in addition to writing his own syndicated column. He has been awarded a National Humanities Medal from the National Endowment of the Humanities.