Wobegonian Modesty and Garrison Keilor’s Lake Wobegon Days
The humble Midwestern town also survives on modesty and a range of satellite sentiments and postures, depending very much on them in Garrison Keillor’s 1985 book Lake Wobegon Days. It is, firmly, a work of pastoral—a literary representation of social, emotional, and aesthetic dualities and tensions in the frame, or in mind, of rural or regional place. Its vital and interesting connection to this mode depends, critically, on its not being the work of blandly sentimentalist affirmation or sugared “nostalgia for the simple life” that mode is commonly seen as. Structurally, too, it is more complicatedly a somewhat loose or meandering assemblage than a novel, organised—such as it is—variously by the seasons, the growth of its narrating figures, and progression through the town’s semi-factual history.