Pontoon

Pontoon

4.2 22
by Garrison Keillor
     
 

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The fictional Minnesota town of Lake Wobegon is real to millions of A Prairie Home Companion fans, who tune in each week for the latest news about its strong women and good-looking men. Like Sinclair Lewis's Gopher Prairie, it is part of literary legend. Four novels have been set among its quiet streets: Lake Wobegon Days, Wobegon Boy, Lake Wobegon Summer 1956,

Overview

The fictional Minnesota town of Lake Wobegon is real to millions of A Prairie Home Companion fans, who tune in each week for the latest news about its strong women and good-looking men. Like Sinclair Lewis's Gopher Prairie, it is part of literary legend. Four novels have been set among its quiet streets: Lake Wobegon Days, Wobegon Boy, Lake Wobegon Summer 1956, and now Pontoon. In the little town of Lake Wobegon, a "wedding" is planned down to the last detail, from the cheese and pâté to the flying Elvis to the pontoon boat. Meanwhile, the surprising secret life of a recently deceased good Lutheran lady comes to light, her daughter meets a lover at the Romeo Motel, and a delegation of renegade Lutheran pastors from Denmark comes to town. That's just the beginning of the stories and characters that drift in on Pontoon. It's Lake Wobegon as you've imagined it: a tightly knit community that sometimes draws you home and sometimes gives you wings to fly away.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Keillor has . . . a velvety voice and cadence that instantly charms. His deep voice is tempered by a soft and deliberate delivery that can often be melodious and sinewy.”
     —Publishers Weekly

“Keillor has . . . a velvety voice and cadence that instantly charms. His deep voice is tempered by a soft and deliberate delivery that can often be melodious and sinewy.”
Publishers Weekly

“Keillor makes humor looks easy, which it rarely, if ever, is.”
USA Today

“Only the most skillful literary hands should attempt [this] combination of flatout farce and genuine emotion; Keillor, like Larry McMurtry in Terms of Endearment, is up to the job.”
The New York Times

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…: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.)

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Los Angeles Times
Full of Keillor's hilarious invention.
The Washington Post Book World
Unaffectedly good-natured [and] entirely accessible.
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.
USA Today
“Keillor makes humor looks easy, which it rarely, if ever, is.”
USA Today
The New York Times
“Only the most skillful literary hands should attempt [this] combination of flatout farce and genuine emotion; Keillor, like Larry McMurtry in Terms of Endearment, is up to the job.”
The New York Times

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781598879346
Publisher:
HighBridge Company
Publication date:
06/03/2009
Edition description:
Unabridged; 8 hours on 7 CDs
Pages:
1
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 5.90(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

As the host of A Prairie Home Companion for over forty years, Garrison Keillor has captivated millions of listeners with his News from Lake Wobegon monologues. He has been honored with Grammy, ACE, and George Foster Peabody awards, the National Humanities Medal, and election to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
St. Paul, Minnesota
Date of Birth:
August 7, 1942
Place of Birth:
Anoka, Minnesota
Education:
B.A., University of Minnesota, 1966

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Pontoon 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Steve64SL More than 1 year ago
My first of his books to read, but will read more. He has an amazing sense of humor! An easy read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The_Happy_Reader More than 1 year ago
I leave this book on my bedside table even though I've already read the entire thing. It's still nice to have it there to pick in the twenty minutes or so before drifting off to sleep. It's classic small town writing. Nothing too suspenseful or high brow, just the story of normal people leading normal lives that leave me slipping away into a more comfortable place. None of the characters have alterior motives with deadly consequences or double lives in secret agencies. I feel like I could actually meet these people when I walk out of my house, even though I live nowhere near Minnesota. If you like listening to the Prairie Home Companion, you'll probably enjoy this too.
gretasgram More than 1 year ago
Som of Keillor's writing is better than others. This has some of the usual Wobegone types of people. Leading up to the wedding and the wedding was great. As usual, he does get a bit preachy. But it was fun reading
Biplane More than 1 year ago
Interesting story about some offbeat characters in an offbeat Minnesota town. Most characters are quite vivid, and the climax at the lake is one of the funniest book passages I've read recently. I'd love to see a movie's rendering of this scene, although the book in its whole is not particularly movie material.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
lconway More than 1 year ago
This will have you holding your side and laughing so hard you'll be running to the bathroom. About the only thing better is seeing him do this live. He has got to be one of the best story tellers of all time.