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WLT: A Radio Romance Paperback


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WLT: A Radio Romance + Pontoon: A Novel of Lake Wobegon (Lake Wobegon Novels) + A Christmas Blizzard: A Novel
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (November 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140103805
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140103809
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,280,157 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Popular radio host Keillor's fictional history of a Minneapolis radio station-a seven-week PW bestseller and a BOMC featured alternate in clothprovides poignant reminders of a time that never was but probably should have been.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

The glory days of Midwest radio prove the ideal subject for old radio-hand Keillor, now writing at the height of his awesome power, which could make a homesick cat laugh. Brothers Ray and Roy Soderbjerg set up station WLT (With Lettuce and Tomato) in Minneapolis in 1926 to draw crowds to their wilting sandwich restaurant. The station proves a gold mine after the two reluctantly agree to allow commercials, and the brothers turn their somewhat divided attention (Ray's chief vocation is sex, Roy's inventing the unnecessary) to the new medium. The novel takes off on a sustained joyride as a hilarious bunch of characters are hired to fill the air with the cornball, pseudo-pious, pseudo- populist fare that held the Midwest in thrall until television offered a superior snow job. Keillor continually contrasts the smutty, lust-filled lives of the cast and crew in the studio with the wholesome, homespun drivel they broadcast. On air, for example, Little Becky is a winsome angel, but look out--the chain-smoking child star will perform the crudest of practical jokes on the unwary. A blind sports announcer, a crushingly cheerful songstress confined to her wheelchair by polio and fat, and a dissolute group of gospel singers are just some of the superb oddities that people Keillor's pages. A straight man to these comic figures and the novel's hero is young Francis With, who comes of age at the station and goes on to great things. The comedy is as broad as it comes, but it also has a depth that includes poignancy, particularly as it records the station's downhill slide. Humor and insight into the heart of raunchy America don't get any better than this. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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

Of all Keillor's books, this one is easily my favorite.
_
The sentences flow very smoothly and each character has his own unique voice.
Ted Ficklen
In fact, I like WLT about the most of anything he's written.
John P Bernat

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By John P Bernat on April 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
We want to keep Garrison Keillor in the box he's made for himself. The prudish reviews below testify to that.

But, haven't you been listening? Keillor smokes Pall Malls. He likes to drink. His greatest aspiration as a young man was to hang out with the literary degeneracy in New York City, and he realized his dream.

You could say he made his tight-cornered bed and now he must lie in it, and you could be dead right. However, in this book, he decided to tell a dirty joke or two and see what the public said about it.

Myself, I liked it. In fact, I like WLT about the most of anything he's written. You get such an image of the other Keillor, who likes a drink and a smoke and a dirty joke. A sexist Keillor who thinks men and women should be attracted to one another and have sex now and again. It's just right.

That particular Keillor cannot survive today, though. The archetype is out of fashion to a fatal degree. He wants us to love it, but we've been too conditioned for other qualities. Strangely, these new qualities are just as loutish and brutal, but they're somehow acceptable.

Radio is dead, but we do have satellite...
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By R. F. Hurley on April 24, 2006
Format: Paperback
You want yer prose style? We got yer prose style. You want your OUTRAGEOUS humor... um... read what happens when your top writer for live radio programming doesn't get enough sleep...

I laughed so hard, I couldn't breath.

His prose pacing is like a psychedelic journey: just when you think things are slowing down, you're already off on another wild excursion. He seemlessly accomplishes what Ken Kesey did somewhat awkwardly in Sometimes a Great Notion-- no slouch of a book in its OWN right.

If you're wondering where the Great American Novel has been hiding, wonder instead how someone as well known as Keillor could get away with writing something like this, only to have it languish in obscurity. If American literature is dead, it's only because Americans have COMPLETELY forgotten how to read.

(excuse my rant)
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 26, 1999
Format: Paperback
"WLT" offers an entertaining blend of humor and pathos, with a memorable cast of characters. The story chronicles the life of a Midwestern radio station from the early days of radio to the advent of television, which brought about radio's downfall. "WLT" is a marvelous period piece which transports the reader back to radio's golden age which, in many respects, was also America's golden age. I would highly recommend this book to any reader, as it undoubtedly ranks among Keillor's best.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. M. Davies on December 11, 2006
Format: Paperback
I love this book, I've read it now several times; in fact, whenever I feel like a spiritual pick-me-up, I will turn to WLT. Soft without being mushy, moral without being preachy and out and out side splittingly funny. Even now, recalling the Dad Benson 'winging it' scene at the family kitchen table ("Yo clematis...what?") and the haemerroid afflicted announcer ("Why can't I hear the music you *******?"), I'm chuckling. I worked for a number of years in radio - after the golden age, well after it in fact - but I recognise behaviour, I recognise characters. An all-round excellent book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Muench VINE VOICE on November 24, 2006
Format: Paperback
I never laughed so hard!!! And then trying to fall asleep....I'd giggle some more! If you have a good imagination and a little sense of mischief, you will not be able to put it down. By far one of my favorite books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 26, 1999
Format: Paperback
"WLT" offers an entertaining blend of humor and pathos, with a memorable cast of characters. The story chronicles the life of a Midwestern radio station from the early days of radio to the advent of television, which brought about radio's downfall. "WLT" is a marvelous period piece which transports the reader back to radio's golden age which, in many respects, was also America's golden age. I would highly recommend this book to any reader, as it undoubtedly ranks among Keillor's best.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By steven marshall on December 7, 2000
Format: Audio Cassette
WLT is one of the most moving works I have ever read by Keillor. I read it when it first came out in hardback, and recently bought the audiobook, read by Keillor; it was like hearing it for the first time. Keillor's style of reading is so believable and enthralling, that I found myself leaving earlier for work in the morning so I could hear one whole side of the tape on the way. Listening to WLT as read by Keillor is a promise that you will laugh out loud, and a moment later weep as if you've lost your best friend. Amazing. I loved it! Deeply affecting!
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Steven Chambers on October 27, 1999
Format: Paperback
What a lovely book and what a lovely introduction to Mr Keillor's work. I bought this for 50 English pence from a second hand stall and didn't I get a good deal!! I can't conceive of the imagination required to write a book like this. The characters, the lives they've had and the conversations they have are all outstanding. This book is a funny and sad account of the early days of American radio where the only requirement to become a radio star was to know someone who already worked there. Amateurishness ruled!! the book paints a vivid and charming rendition of the days before disc jockeys (No disc jockeys??!! - I had no idea!) and the de-basing of popular radio. Thoroughly recommended
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