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Leaving Home Paperback – April 1, 1990

4.1 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (April 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140131604
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140131604
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #658,574 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Roger Brunyate TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 5, 2007
Format: Paperback
The title and back cover of Anita Brookner's novel suggest that this is about the perennial adolescent drama of breaking away from parental influences and leaving the nest. But this is only a small part of it. Emma Roberts, though younger than most of Brookner's protagonists, is already in her mid-twenties, and her quest is more a search for home than the leaving of it. She begins by moving to Paris as a graduate student of landscape architecture, staying first of all in a horrible student hostel, then taking a room in a small hotel. Later, she buys her own flat in London, and alternates between the two cities, discovering more about herself, even if only by coming to accept what she is not. The one home that she really envies is a country house belonging to the mother of her vivacious friend Françoise -- although the world of the French haute bourgeoisie makes her feel unworthy by comparison.

I suspect that this novel is more autobiographical than most; it also has personal resonances for me, since I was working on my own art history thesis in Paris at a similar age. Although I am a man, while Brookner writes so tellingly about women, I treasure her insight into the female mind. It is true that she confines herself to women of a certain class and mental disposition but, for me, that only increases the sense of authenticity.

Not for nothing is Brookner's scholarly field the late 18th-century watershed between French classicism and romanticism. Her characters always brush shoulders with romance, but opt instead for the comfort and predictability of classic balance, a quality which is also reflected in the cool elegance of the author's prose.
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Format: Paperback
This is a short and well written story by Brookner, similar in style to some of her other novels.

Anita Brookner (born 1928) is an English novelist and art historian. She was born in London to Polish immigrant parents. Many of her novels feature links to other European countries and immigrants to the UK.

Brookner was an only child and she never married. In her novels, many of her protagonists lead a solitary life, going through stages of emotional development. For example, her Booker novel Hotel du lac is about a novelist, Edith Hope, who is staying in a hotel on the shores of Lake Geneva. The book follows that pattern: she gets involved with the other guests and undergoes emotional changes. Also, her parents were secular Jews, and a few of her characters have Jewish connections.

Without giving away the plot, the present novel follows the pattern of a single woman, again an only child, who grows up in London and moves to Paris.

There are few moments of high anxiety in the story. It is low key but well written and concise. I liked her prose and would recommend the book. She is similar to a few other English writers such a Barbara Pym, but not identical.

I am not surprised that some readers do not like the book. It is to be read and enjoyed for the writing as much as anything.
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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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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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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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