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In Search of Lake Wobegon Hardcover – August 27, 2001

4.9 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Hardcover, August 27, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Richard Olsenius is a regular National Geographic contributing photographer.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Studio (August 27, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670030376
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670030378
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 0.8 x 10.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #867,937 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Fans of Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion" are already an imaginative sort. We know what Arlene Bunsen looks like, or Pastor Inquist. We've got a good idea how Roger Hedlund has been rotating his crops, and the main goings on on Main Street. We don't need pictures of this area because we already know it by heart--we've seen it on the radio. This book does exactly what it should...it doesn't dispel our images of Lake Wobegon, but gives us pictures of its neighbors and people living their lives in rural Minnesota. All the images are sepia toned. With a few exceptions, the subjects are unposed and candid, getting ready for the prom, or readying the field for corn.
The composition of the shots are superb. The short prologue gives a first person retelling of how Keillor invented the town that "time forgot and the decades cannot improve." That introduction, however, is so short that it's almost unfair to say that this is a Garrison Keillor book. He essentially wrote the foreword (although it's not titled that way), and the pictures tell the real story.
My only disappointment is that there isn't any color. Certainly sepia tones give us nostalgia the way we'd like to remember it, but sunset on a farm is something you can't appreciate in shades of brown. Rural life has its monochromatic moments, to be sure, but there's enough color and life to help us remember that not everything is nostalgia.
This gripe doesn't detract from the beauty of this book, though. Thankfully we never see Lake Wobegon, only hints and shadows. It allows us to preserve our preconceptions, but gives us a deeper feeling of connection with the area. If you're a fan of APHC, you probably already own this book (or you should). If not, take a look at a lifestyle that might be foreign to you.
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Format: Hardcover
For years Garrison Keillor has given voice and vision to Lake Wobegon, a mythical wonderland somewhere in the heartland.
Now for the first time we can see the place and its people through the eye of Richard Olsenius, whose essentialist photography magnificently illuminates Keillor's words in their first collaborative book "In Search of Lake Wobegon."
Olsenius' 4x5 images provide deep and penetrating insights into people who, as Keillor writes: "...learned long before we are twelve that God loves us but God also says hard things that a person doesn't care to hear."
"Here," writes Keillor "the currency is character, as expressed in stories." As always, Keillor tells great stories. Olsenius marries character and image -- expressive, haunting, and essential. Together they bring flesh to the word and word to the flesh.
"In Search of Lake Wobegon" was on press long before September 11. Yet, its images are not only prophetically timely, but reflective of a durable and distant homeland.
Turn to page 44 and pages 64, 69, 74, 86 and 89 - images far from ground zero but deep in the heart. It is both reassuring and haunting to see our oneness from the remoteness of Avon, Holdingford, New Munich and St. Joseph.
There's the fishing hole, the fields, and the field of dreams, the homecoming parade, St. Rosa's church and on page 106, Gary Thelen at the bean-finishing machine. Keillor tells that Thelen's Swany White Flour Mill has been in the family since 1906. Through Olsenius I met, saw and let Gary touch me.
Keillor introduces the Holdingford High homecoming court on page 30 in the words of young Queen Tanya: "like wow" and "Cool" and the football game that wasn't.
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Format: Hardcover
From the Central Minnesota prairie, in beautiful black and white pictures and picturesque prose, here is the Genesis of Garrison Keilor's magical mythical Lake Wobegon, site of "A Prairie Home Companion." Here we get to *see* the strong women, good-looking men, and above average children of and for whom he speaks on Saturday nights. Accompanying Richard Olsenius' stunning photography (how can the viewer not be deeply moved by the picture of the veterans at the St. Wendell cemetery on Memorial Day?) are excerpts from the Radio Show, interviews with inhabitants, and essays and musings from Keilor - like this:
"Culture isn't decor, it's what you know before you're twelve. It sticks with you all your born days. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. You can try to wrestle free of it, like those geese who trail the V-formation, trying to look as if they aren't part of this bunch, as if flying south were a personal decision on their part, but your feint towards independence only makes it clearer who you really are. Some people like hot dish better if it's called cassoulet, or pot roast if it's pot-au-feu. Fine. Suit yourself. Same difference."
Whatever you call those culinary delights, you'll like this book. Come see Father Kleinschmidt's Annual Blessing of the Snowmobiles. Ja, you betcha! Reviewed by TundraVision.
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Format: Hardcover
I was tearful after reading only the first paragraph of this book. Since my move from Minnesota to the east coast 3 years ago, I have come to miss "home" very much. Garrison Keillor's radio show is good medicine for those of us who have strayed too far, but this book brought me closer to Minnesota than I've been in a long time. Keillor's words are such a comfort, and he weaves such a fantastic history (and present) that is such a perfect mirror image of life and culture "up north." The black-and-white pictures are so familiar, though I've never visited any of the people or places in them. Pictures of main street parades, farms, dirt roads (hey, some of us haven't seen a dirt road in ages), and small-town nighttime hangouts are among the images found in this book that remind me of where I come from. Minnesota will always be my home, and this book will always remind me of who I am. I STRONGLY recommend this book. Whether you're a resident or a visitor, the words and pictures in In Search of Lake Wobegon will make you sigh and laugh and remember. This isn't just a coffee table picture book. The essays will astound you...you'll wish you had a paperback to show to your friends. Makes a great gift!
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