People say I resemble my dog (and vice-versa). He can hear sounds I can't hear, but I'm the one who listens to audiobooks.
Pontoon starts with the sudden but apparently peaceful death of an elderly Lake Wobegon woman, proceeds into the wedding plans of a young woman coming back to Lake Wobegon after leaving for a prosperous (and preposterous) career in L.A., and ends with the events on Lake Wobegon that transpire when the memorial service and wedding party take place simultaneously.
That's not much of a plot, but it doesn't have to be. What Garrison Keillor has done so well for so long in the seemingly innocuous midwest small-town setting of Lake Wobegon, in print and on radio, is to create a charming cast of characters who live ordinary lives that take small but extraordinary turns.
Pontoon is no exception -- Evelyn's recent death and Debbie's upcoming nuptials are bookend life events that provide the starting point for Keillor to fill his folk art canvas with an array of characters that capture the imagination in the simplest and humblest of ways. It is not laugh out loud funny, not dealing so prominently with the subject of death, but it is unfailingly charming.
He never refers to himself in any way, and he has created a spectrum of characters that are never less than engaging, but ultimately my favorite character is the author himself. He has been doing this for decades, and his patented formula relies so heavily on his soothing voice and his total command of his subject matter -- his setting and the people who fill it. It is not necessary to know about Keillor and his rich histories of Lake Wobegon to enjoy Pontoon, but those who know him in advance of reading the book have an edge, because as narrator he really is a major character himself.
It's always a treat when an author reads his own work, but in this case, it is even more than that, Keillor having perfected his narrative voice on his longtime radio show. I suppose one could argue that fans of the show know his voice so well that they could read the print version with that sound in their imagination, but there is no need to imagine it when Keillor himself reads his own audiobook.
i would recommend this book. its a very good tale of life and death and how to live on your own terms.
full of funny and moving moments, i lol at the ladies talking at thier dinners,and was very moved by her lovers reaction to the indentions on her bed where she had lain.
the bowling balls travels.
you could not make this into a film
Kind of like reading a novel-length obituary, with detailed descriptions of big problems such as alcoholism. It definitely has some gems, but the overall effect each time I listen is to end up feeling depressed, so it takes some resolve to pick it up again each time.
One of the top ten
Evelyn. I like how she didnt let her age stop her from persuing her true self.
Yes. They are all good performances because the author is the performer and that brings the characters to life in the way that they are intended
Evelyn. Interesting conversation
It is very amusing. Keller takes you into the imaginary adventures in a delightful, down home style that keeps you glued to your IPOD! The more you listen the more the side stories add to this unique view of life on the parie.
Garrison Keilor's style of story telling.
The characters he creates, his unique voice and dry humor.
Crazy Debbie's Derailed Marriage
He is the best at painting the human experience in full detail.
The life we all know.
SuseADoodle - "Audiobook Addict!" - Please disregard my "guided" reviews since it appears that a lot of what I wrote has been chopped off.
Funny. Sad. Great.
The characters of Evelyn and Barbara. Though I did not like Barbara's thoughts about her composer brother, she is an interesting character.
I am vaguely familiar with Garrison's Prairie Home Companion stories about Lake Wobegon and particularly remember one memorable
Though I enjoyed Evelyn, I think I would be embarrassed by her in public. Maybe Raoul ... I don't really know.
The subjects of sex and death are throughout the book. The subject of negative side of being a Lutheran also runs through the story. These three subjects might turn off a number of reader/listeners. Even so, while characters blame God for the
Performed by the author, this audio book is very much an extended version of the News from Lake Woebegon. A subtle mix of humor, sadness, and the absurd, it is wonderful listening.
I agree that the Publisher description has it all wrong, maybe they skimmed the book. I smiled through the whole thing, there are so many characters, it took me a couple of rewinds to sort them out. I laughed so hard I cried at the crazy ending! Then I started over from the beginning. The first line sets the tone. "Evelyn was a lifelong insomniac, so when they say she died in her sleep you have got to question that" This isn't the same sentimental Garrison Keillor on NPR these characters live much more worldly lives. The book is sweetly sad in the genre of lost innocence, and small town wildness. This would make a great movie, maybe like a Prayer for Own Meany was turned into the World According to Garp. I keep this one on my Audible player, and have listened to parts over and over and always seem to pick out a few more details that were lost on me on first reading. As an audio book this one will stay in my permanent collection.