Happy to Be Here (Magill's Literary Annual 1983)
Garrison Keillor is best known as the host of “A Prairie Home Companion,” a weekly two-hour radio show that originated in 1974 in St. Paul, Minnesota, and is now available on many National Public Radio affiliates. This broadcast has brought Keillor’s humor to a national audience, which delights in his weekly stories of past and present in his mythical hometown of Lake Wobegon, Minnesota, “the town that time forgot.” His other popular creations include advertisements for mythical products and businesses, such as Powdermilk Biscuits, which “give shy persons the strength to get up and do what needs to be done,” the Fearmonger’s Shoppe, “serving your phobia needs,” and Bertha’s Kitty Boutique “In the Dales.” These and other inventions, including poems of Margaret Haskins Durber, “the poet laureate of Lake Wobegon,” can be heard on two long-playing recordings: A Prairie Home Companion Anniversary Album (1980) and The Family Radio (1982). Keillor’s radio humor depends to a great extent on his voice and his delivery. For the reader conditioned by Keillor’s homey, sincere, almost nostalgic radio voice, it is difficult and somewhat unnerving to enter into the many-voiced stories of Happy to Be Here, a collection of pieces which first appeared in The New Yorker and elsewhere between 1969 and 1981. Once the transition is made, however, the reader will be delighted.
(The entire section is 2112 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Survey of American Literature, Revised Edition)
Sources for Further Study
Christian Century. XCIX, July 21, 1982, p. 793.
Library Journal. CVII, January 15, 1982, p. 195.
National Review. XXXIII, December 11, 1981, p. 1492.
The New York Times Book Review. LXXXVII, February 28, 1982, p. 12.
Time. CXIX, February 1, 1982, p. 74.
Virginia Quarterly Review. LVIII, July 2, 1982, p. 793.
(The entire section is 38 words.)