A wealthy and depressed man (thanks to the economy, he's not quite rich enough to expand his cache of paintings by Vincent Van Guy, the famed Dutch realist) bound for Christmas in the tropics is abruptly summoned home to North Dakota to visit an ailing aunt. He arrives just in time to be trapped there by a blizzard. The electricity goes out, and when it does, figures from his childhood appear, and historical figures too, for a festive candlelit holiday.
In his reverie, our man reaches an epiphany worthy of the season - he hears the harkening angels sing, he is awed by the silence of the night (dead quiet: not even TV), and when he is finally rescued, leaves North Dakota resolved to simplify his life.
©2009 Garrison Keillor. (P)2009 HighBridge Company
“This polished production brims with seasonal cheer, caustic wit, and Keillor’s signature folksy style.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Rife with imagination and humor.” (Plain Dealer)
“In this manic lead-up to Christmas Eve, Keillor exhibits his brilliance for drawing spon-on caricatures.” (The Washington Post)
I loved this story. It brings to mind how different we all are and if we only take the time to listen we might understand each other. It was funny and thought provoking.
The Christmas Eve dinner party
I wish I could give this book a higher rating, but unfortunately I just can't. Although Garrison Keillor's familiar voice is like listening to an old friend, the book flags in the middle. It is hard for me to finish it. There are some very, very funny parts to it, but I suspect that Garrison Keillor's forte is in telling and writing shorter stories than this. If you're looking for a little something to put you in the holiday spirit and you're a diehard fan, then you might want to drop your credit on listening to this book during your work drive or as you wrap presents. But for me, it just didn't sustain my interest the way the Lake Wobegon stories do.
I never thought I'd say this about something written and spoken by Garrison Keillor, but I just wanted this book to end. Lots of words but no story...and no magic.
I will probably listen to this again next year. I really laughed so hard that I was tearing up!
I LOVE Keillor's dry sense of humor. I'm so glad that he read it because he delivers it so well!
A mailman in Iowa, I have hours and hours to listen as I walk along. History in the am, adventure in the pm, literature when the muse calls.
Well....even bad Keillor is still better than most others' efforts. I felt like the last chapter got left out. But it's still ol' Garrison - pathos and guffaws on every page.
Recommend especially around Christmas...a grand winter story that is funny, reflective, and warms the heart!
Garrison is the superb midwestern storyteller!
First of all, let me say that I love Garrison Keillor. This short story has great potential, but at times it wanders and rambles. Listening to it in the car, I have to occasionally rewind to remind myself or try to figure out where I am in the story. There's so much dreaming or psychological musings that I've had a hard time following the story. I have about 10 minutes left in the recording and don't know how it's going to end - differently, I'm sure, from what I expected. The ending involves members of a family sitting around the dinner table telling stories of times past and it's almost like Mr. Keillor is trying to get in story ideas through the characters' memories because they are far from the story itself. I am hoping that James ends up at home with his wife, but it doesn't look like it will happen. It's been a different story.
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