Pontoon: A Novel of Lake Wobegon

Overview

Garrison Keillor makes his long- awaited return to Lake Wobegon with this New York Times bestseller

The first new Lake Wobegon novel in seven years is a cause for celebration. And Pontoon is nothing less than a spectacular return to form-replete with a bowling ball-urn, a hot-air balloon, giant duck decoys, a flying Elvis, and, most importantly, Wally's pontoon boat. As the wedding of the decade approaches (accompanied by wheels of imported cheese and giant shrimp shish kebabs),...

See more details below
Paperback (Reprint)
$12.45
BN.com price
(Save 11%)$14.00 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (61) from $1.99   
  • New (5) from $2.97   
  • Used (56) from $1.99   
Pontoon: A Novel of Lake Wobegon

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$11.99
BN.com price

Overview

Garrison Keillor makes his long- awaited return to Lake Wobegon with this New York Times bestseller

The first new Lake Wobegon novel in seven years is a cause for celebration. And Pontoon is nothing less than a spectacular return to form-replete with a bowling ball-urn, a hot-air balloon, giant duck decoys, a flying Elvis, and, most importantly, Wally's pontoon boat. As the wedding of the decade approaches (accompanied by wheels of imported cheese and giant shrimp shish kebabs), the good-loving people of Lake Wobegon do what they do best: drive each other slightly crazy.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
A nondescript pontoon boat unites two themes in this Lake Wobegon novel. The daughter of a recently deceased woman has promised herself that she will fulfill her mother's dying wish: a cremation at the center of Lake Wobegon. Debbie Detmer also has pontoon plans. The veterinary aromatherapy millionaire is convinced that a lake wedding with her reluctant fiancée will offer her clear sailing for the foreseeable future. But as Garrison Keillor's fans know, the winds blow strangely in these parts. Comic and neighborly.
Thomas Mallon
At bottom this is a tough-minded book, as aware of life's betrayals and griefs as it is of the grace notes and buffooneries that leaven everyday existence&#8230:With all their familiar elements, Keillor's Lake Wobegon books have become a set of synoptic gospels, full of wistfulness and futility yet somehow spangled with hope. This one even contains an epilogue, the closest thing to an afterlife that fiction can offer.
—The New York Times
Howard Frank Mosher
Pontoon, Garrison Keillor's first Lake Wobegon novel in six years, abounds with good-humored satire, lyrical evocations of Keillor's beloved Midwestern community and characters as believable as your next-door neighbors…In these parlous latter days, contemporary fiction isn't, heaven forbid, supposed to be entertaining and funny. I hope I'm not tolling the death knell for Pontoon by admitting that I don't recall laughing out loud over a novel so frequently since the last time I read A Confederacy of Dunces. For my money, that's a tribute to Keillor's highly skilled storytelling…
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

In the wake of Evelyn's death, the residents of Lake Wobegon ride higher waves of absurdity and simplicity than ever before. Her last words reveal a whole other life few knew about and cast a wide net of influence on the community, not the least of which includes her daughter and grandson. In his idiosyncratic manner, Keillor brings to life the town of Lake Wobegon with spiraling arcs of tales, vignettes and sketches of its residents that pull together into a reflective commentary on the journey from crib to crypt. Keillor has decades of radio experience and a velvety voice and cadence that instantly charms listeners. His deep voice is tempered by a soft and deliberate delivery that can often be melodious and sinewy. Though his female characters only vaguely distinguish themselves from one another, it does not distract from the narration as a whole. One surprising distraction of this audiobook's production: throughout, as Keillor finishes with a page, he audibly flips to the next. Simultaneous release with the Viking hardcover (Reviews, Aug. 20). (Sept.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Thomas Mallon
Keillor has always been a great cataloger, equal parts Homer and Montgomery Ward, and rarely to better effect than in Pontoon.
The New York Times Book Review
The Washington Post Book World
Unaffectedly good-natured [and] entirely accessible.
Los Angeles Times
Full of Keillor's hilarious invention.
Kirkus Reviews
The life and loves of a spirited woman cast a beguiling shadow over the good citizens of Lake Wobegon in Keillor's warmhearted latest comic romp. It opens with a killer sentence ("Evelyn was an insomniac so when they say she died in her sleep, you have to question that") and follows it with a gem-like introductory paragraph summarizing Evelyn Peterson's vigorous life and introduction to the afterlife. We then learn that Evelyn-a leggy, energetic beauty with a mind of her own-kicked up her heels after divorcing her morose husband of 40 years, traveled and raised hell and took up with old boyfriend Raoul (aka TV's "Yonny Yonson of the Yungle"), thus setting a free-spirited example that scandalized her Lutheran neighbors and challenged her 50-something daughter Barbara. The latter, herself divorced, the mother of an adult retarded daughter and a son in college desperate to know how to live his life, is bedeviled by a drinking problem and a decision over whether to honor Evelyn's directions for a rather unconventional burial service. These problems are compounded by the return of local "bad girl" Debbie Detmer, who has made a fortune as a California aromatherapist and is back for a "commitment ceremony" yoking her to her noncommittal boyfriend. None of this quite amounts to a plot, as Keillor (Homegrown Democrat: A Few Plain Thoughts From the Heart of America, 2004, etc.) frequently strays away from linear narrative to write about who or whatever happens to interest him. Still, events proceed with amiable illogic, peaking in a farcical scene featuring Evelyn's grandson Kyle on water skis, 24 apostate Danish pastors who happen to be visiting, a "fish-catching" dog named Bruno and residualdisturbances related to Debbie's ill-fated commitment ceremony. The family and community ties are strong, the people are good looking and the belly-laugh quotient is above average. Tune in. You won't be disappointed.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143114109
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/26/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 400,725
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Garrison Keillor

Garrison Keillor, author of nearly a dozen books, is founder and host of the acclaimed radio show A Prairie Home Companion and the daily program The Writer's Almanac. He is also a regular contributor to Time magazine.

Biography

Garrison Keillor is the author of thirteen books, including Lake Wobegon Summer 1956, Wobegon Boy, and Lake Wobegon Days. From 1999-2001, Keillor wrote a column "Dear Mr. Blue: Advice for Lovers and Writers" on Salon.com. Keillor's popular Saturday-night public radio show, A Prairie Home Companion, is in its twenty-seventh season. He lives in St. Paul with his wife and daughter.

Author biography courtesy of Penguin Group (USA).

Read More Show Less
    1. Also Known As:
      Gary Edward Keillor (real name)
      Garrison Keillor
    2. Hometown:
      St. Paul, Minnesota
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 7, 1942
    2. Place of Birth:
      Anoka, Minnesota
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of Minnesota, 1966

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 18, 2011

    Pontoon captures the aura of Lake Woebegone

    You can visit Lake Woebegon any Saturday or Sunday from wherever you are. Just dial up your local public radio station and listen to Garrison Keilor's melodic voice as he describes that week's goings-on in this small Minnesota town. Having made that trip many times, I was wary of a book set in this town of Lutherans and Jello salads. What if the details of the book spoiled the allure of the weekly stories?

    No problem. Pontoon introduces you to Lake Woebegon and the kind of people you would expect to find there. Although Evelyn leaves the world with an angel in the first few pages, she is the predominant character. A no-nonsense woman, she married Jack because they were seen necking in the movies in 1942, and that pretty much meant you had to get married. So, they did, and when he got back from the war they raised three children and had a life -- not one in which they fulfilled one another, but one they could live with.

    Said to be a welcoming person in a family or wary observers, Evelyn lived life on her own terms and had nineteen glorious years after Jack's death. They had separated before that, and he went to live in a fishing shack, drink whiskey, and fantasize about a teen porn star he came to know through the adult video store. She never missed him. Evelyn had girlfriends galore, trips around the county, and -- of course -- responsibilities at the Lake Woebegon Lutheran Church.

    But Evelyn had a secret in the form of Raoul, her lover before Jack, her soul mate. They reconnected and when she took those trips to St. Louis they were not laid back times that put her in bed by ten o'clock, which is how she described them to her daughter, Barbara. It is Barbara who reads her mother's letter and learns she wants to be cremated and placed in a bowling ball and dropped in Lake Woebegon. And learns of Raoul. -

    Though Evelyn is present throughout the book, the story moves to her daughter Barbara and Barbara's son Kyle, who are motivated to changes parts of their lives as they remember Evelyn's. Kyle now has different plans than college and a self-centered girlfriend -- he will drop his grandmother's bowling ball into the lake via a parasail.

    Other lives intermingle. Debbie Detmer has morphed from troubled teen to aromatherapy queen who made it big in California. She's come back for her wedding to Brent. Debbie writes wedding vows as she helps her delusional dad (he gets excited from listening to evangelists on the radio all day) and aging mother. The more you hear about Brent the more you wonder if some of those aromas have gone to Debbie's head.

    When the time for Evelyn's non-memorial lake side service arrives the town also has a group of visiting Danes, who have arrived two hours early because they would not do the scheduled visit to a hog farm. They and a large amount of champagne take a boat ride on the lake. Between the touring boaters, a misbehaving parasail, some human-pedaled ducks, and a hot air balloon, this is one heck of a memorial services. And Barbara, who had dreaded the non-service, thought it was nothing but gangbusters. Evelyn would have loved it.

    Though you see Lake Woebegon through several eyes, the view is unwavering. It has bedrock institutions, Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility Catholic Church and the beauty-salon-cum-news depot to name a couple. The transitions from one character to another are seamless.

    The novel flows so easily it might be awhile before you rea

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 4, 2011

    Great book

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Posted April 17, 2010

    Black comedy maybe,morbid comedy definitely not, funny definitely

    It may seem strange for a humorous novel to start out with a death, but it did not seem sad. There seemed to be a feeling of predestination weaving a thread through the story that I would think was more common to Calvinists than to Lutherans. Perhaps it is just the hardiness of the people of the town. They have accepted that life is a difficult journey that ends with death. Marriage happens, the spouses will soon become bored with each other, and children will grow up and leave the nest. If life is lived well however, there will be chances for some fun along the way. They do not ask for the fun to be something major and long lasting. They accept what fun they can get, and squeeze maximum joy from it. If all goes well death will come suddenly, shortly after a fun event, and while there is another fun event being planned.

    The saddest story line involves the poor fishing dog who has lived too long and is no longer loved. His story brought tears of grief to my eyes, but then it lead to the funniest scene in the book. Before I realized it I had gone from crying to laughing so hard that I could hardly breath.

    It is a quick easy read, but it will not be forgotten. Members of a book club could discuss it for longer than it took them to read it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 23, 2010

    A fun, outside-the-box read

    This book was a very fun read. Laugh-out-loud funny and full of unique, interesting characters. Anyone who enjoys Garrison Keeler's voice on the radio will love his voice in this book. Your head can't help but hear him in the writing. Anyone who isn't familiar with Garrison Keeler's unique look into Lake Wobegon, his fictional town in northern Minnesota, will still enjoy this witty and hilarious story. It may even inspire you to try and catch him on public radio. Overall, I reccomend this book to anyone looking for an escape from everday routine life with humor and fun and a very unique world.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 7, 2009

    It was OK

    It was OK

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 20, 2009

    Clever and reminiscent of a Keilor short story

    Thoroughly enjoyed the author's keen witticisms and character development. As I read the book, I could actually visualize folks in my town and in my church serving as profiles for the characters. I chuckled and giggled and sighed and smiled thru most of the book, but, absolutely laughed out loud during one scenario. When all of the pieces came together and the end result was a small black man-made cloud, I could barely see the pages through my own hilarity. I immediately went back to Barnes and Noble, bought as many copies as they had on hand, and mailed them to my relatives that I knew would appreciate this wonderful little book. I'm a Texas Lutheran and I know these people....

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2008

    do you need a GOOD laugh?

    this book is so typical of three old ladies, in a small town. a great laugh.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2008

    A Life Celebrated

    Pontoon is the story of the death of Evelyn and it's effect on Lake Wobegon. I found the writing to be conversational and full of humor and the characters to be colorful and endearing. It amazed me how an author like Keillor can create so much life in a book about death. As Keillor himself says, 'You get old and you realize there are no answers, just stories. And how we love them.' 'p. 237' And I do love all the many stories in Pontoon.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2007

    A reviewer

    I am a fan of most of Garrison Keillor works but not 'Pontoon'. It is almost as if Mr. Keillor forgot how to write or what he was writing about. But don't let this this piece of literature subtract from his exemplary career as a writer. Also, if you enjoy this genre of comedic writings, then I would suggest researching any on of his peer especially Mathew James Borkowski and his collected works from ¿Ho-Hun Valley¿.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)