Readers will find those ingredients splendidly displayed in Keillor's new collection of pieces, "We Are Still Married." For those who have concluded that we will not soon be seeing a kinder, gentler nation, this is your book.
In his introduction, he writes:"My cash crop is humor, a bastard genre of literature that includes Mark Twain and the gentlemen of the old firm of Benchley, Thurber, Perelman & White and also includes `How to Talk Suth'n,' `Buddy's Big Book of Booger Jokes' and `Funny Fotos of Cats in Hats,' a mixed field."
Keillor finishes in the first order, for he is the finest humorist writing in the United States. "We Are Still Married" is wonderfully funny.
There is some satire:
"End of the Trail," a piece about the last two smokers in the country hiding out in the High Sierra, and "Hollywood in the '50s," with the poet William Carlos Williams, baseball great Ted Williams and swimmer Esther Williams members of the same odd family (Ted and Esther are the parents of Vanessa Williams).
"Letters From Jack" is anti-fan mail aimed at his successful radio show, "A Prairie Home Companion," from its disgruntled first sponsor.
And there are several nice pieces from Lake Wobegon, along with Keillor's retrospect on what the little town that time forgot has done to him. In "My Life in Prison" he hilariously looks at sudden fame in a brilliant parody (I hope it's a parody) of a feature story about his failure to send an autographed photo to a bedridden child.
The story ends with Timmy hallucinating with a 110-degree fever while Keillor swills Pouilly-Fuisse at the Stork Club. Just wonderful.