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Leaving Home: A Collection of Lake Wobegon Stories Hardcover – October 5, 1987


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"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.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

For the fans, here's a round-up of 36 monologues from Keillor's Prairie Home Companion radio show, which went off the air on June 13. The reader who is unacquainted with the show or with Keillor's best selling book Lake Wobegon Days may make little sense of these tales of ordinary, everyday events in the lives of unspectacular people living in the imaginary but wholly believable village of Lake Wobegon, Minnesota; but for the faithful, and there are hundreds of thousands such, this new book will be welcomed like a letter from the home town in which one is brought up to date on what relatives, friends, and others have been doing lately. For them the adventures never stale and the characters never bore. There is little danger that the book will gather dust in the library. A.J. Anderson, Graduate Sch. of Library & Information Sci e nce, Simmons Coll., Boston
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 244 pages
  • Publisher: The Viking Press; 1st edition (October 5, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067081976X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670819768
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,382,893 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Garrison Keillor is the bestselling author of Lake Wobegon Days, Happy To Be Here, Leaving Home, We Are Still Married, Radio Romance, The Book of Guys and Wobegon Boy (available in Penguin Audiobook). He is the host of A Prairie Home Companion on American public radio and a contributor to Time magazine. He lives in Wisconsin and New York City.

Customer Reviews

Very insightful and poignant.
Teresa LeCroy
She has really enjoyed it.....is reading it for the second time already!!
K. King
I found this book at my school's library in the free book section.
Catherine Donohue

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 10, 1996
Format: Paperback
Leaving Home is a collection of pieces about Lake Wobegon citizens who either do leave or dream of leaving. It has lots of the old favorites from "A Prairie Home Companion" (including "Homecoming," the monologue that most people seem to remember), somewhat rewritten as short stories. Funny, sometimes poignant, these are humor pieces at their best, with a surprising depth of characterization and the wonderful, slightly bemused, slightly awed voice of a master story teller. Of all the Lake Wobegon collections, this one is probably the most representative, because it is the most balanced. Belly laughs and a tear or two, although as Keillor insists, his view of Lake Wobegon really is NOT that nostalgic, and usually it's free of sentimentality
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Devin Rambo on September 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
Leaving Home is essentially a collection of transcripts of the popular News From Lake Wobegon segment that is the highlight of A Prairie Home Companion, Garrison Keillor's live weekly radio show. For new readers of Keillor, it's an excellent introduction into the colorfully ordinary world of Lake Wobegon, Minnesota, the fictional town that Keillor has made into a functional microcosm of the small-town heartland culture that too much of American society often views as inferior. For readers already exposed to Keillor, it's an extension of our acquaintanceship with the characters we've previously met in Lake Wobegon Days and on the radio show.
I think Keillor is undervalued in the world of American literature. What he has done with the Lake Wobegon books and stories, and with his radio show, is create a fully realized fictional world populated with flesh and blood people. And he has done so in a way that is touching and funny; we may laugh at his characters when they do something foolish or ill-advised, but the perspective that Keillor provides us ensures that we do so from a position of sympathy instead of superiority. The people in his stories may be small-town, but they are not small-minded. In some of his stories, Keillor examines the strong opinions they may have in favor of social values that some may deride as intolerant, but his focus on the decent, moral people at the core of the culture reminds us that although we may have different attitudes and lifestyles, we are connected by the common thread of frail humanity.
My one criticism isn't really a criticism at all: that it is always better, in my opinion, to hear Keillor read the material aloud than it is to read them on your own. His warm, rumbling bass voice is the perfect vessel through which to hear these stories.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By amandasan on November 13, 2001
Format: Paperback
I found this book in the apartment I moved into in Japan and read it only when I had run out of my own books and was waiting for more to arrive from Amazon. I was pleasantly surprised by Keillor's wit and insight. This isn't a book about small town people - these are stories about people. Keillor touches on some pretty major topics here. He is a wonderful storyteller. I found the stories both funny and touching and a bit edgier than what I expected. A great read!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Mac on October 22, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Garrison Keillor is a master short story writer...unfortunately, publishers keep trying to turn him into a novelist. This is his BEST collection of stories. Wise, warm, and wonderful. A worthy successor to the string of small-town American writers.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Catherine Donohue on March 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
I found this book at my school's library in the free book section. I had no idea what it was about or who the other was, but only grabbed it because it had the nicest cover in comparison to the other books. I was pleasantly surprised that I found a nice collection stories for the 'price.'

The stories all take place in Keillor's fictional, religious, small town in Minnesota, Lake Wobegon. The only things that I really know about Minnesota is that it's cold, the Twins play in the metrodome, and the state has a unique portrayal in Fargo (the movie). Leaving Home gave me a better picture of the state, and how strange and interesting the place and the people are.

It's not a very deep book, but its a fun read. It's perfect for when you're really bored and just want to read something. Some of the stories are actually quite funny. Some are so-so, whilst the others are forgettable. After finishing Leaving Home, I had a nice feeling the rest of the day. It's corny, I know, but that's how it made me feel. Check it out when you get that chance.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Steven Bailey on November 5, 2004
Format: Paperback
As I was browsing through the library one day last month, after reading some Latin short stories, I came upon this book. I was intrigued by the cover at first. So I sat down in MY SEAT in the library. Then I began flipping through the pages. Man, was I surprised. I thought, in the beginning that these stories were fiction, but when I finished it, and read the last lines, my god, it's all true. The stories, not all, but most of it, hit you somewhere. It really does. It makes you say, "Hey, I know this.. This is...(name here-me?)." There's not much continuity in the chapters, like from TRUCKSTOP to DALE. Anyway, it makes the book greater. Again and again, the book is fantastic. Well, if you don't believe me, read the book. Then you'll realize that there is one more thing constant in the world... It has been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon.....

Favorite Stories - Dale, The Ticket, Aprille, The Royal Family, uh, some more... Truckstop... hell, the whole book!!!!
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