(Masterpieces of American Literature)

Although Keillor has always been at his best in the short narrative or the flawless anecdote, We Are Still Married conveys much more of the pastiche effect than do his previous three books. The political satire is harsher, more focused, and more partisan. A number of the pieces, while extremely entertaining, seemed mainly to be apologias for the author’s recent decisions regarding his personal and professional life.

“Reagan,” written just prior to the presidential election of 1988, is in places pure political commentary. “A Liberal Reaches for Her Whip” is more in the vein of earlier Keillor whimsy, but it, too, includes a direct attack upon presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, and the political atmosphere they fostered in the United States. “Patmos,” the account of a trip to Greece, is sprinkled with comment on the fateful nature of the 1988 American presidential election. Previously, Keillor’s narrator persona generally responded with bemused tolerance for the foibles of his fellow man, including his political foibles. Keillor’s political commentary is exceedingly mild by comparison to the Juvenalian assaults launched daily by the Washington-based columnists; still, it was a relatively new—and, to some readers, troubling—aspect of his work.

Other pieces—“Who Do You Think You Are?,” “Regrets,” and “My Life in Prison”—hint at the strained relationships and acrimony that must have accompanied his termination of A Prairie Home Companion while it was at its...

(The entire section is 632 words.)