Pilgrims: A Lake Wobegon Romance
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Pilgrims: A Lake Wobegon Romance

3.2 of 5 stars 3.20  ·  rating details  ·  406 ratings  ·  91 reviews
Wobegon goes abroad in this rousing and moving story of a group trip to Rome
Margie Krebsbach dreams up the idea of a trip to Rome, hoping to get her husband Carl to make love to her[he's been sleeping across the hall and she has no idea why. She finds a patriotic purpose for the journey. A Lake Wobegon boy, Gussy Norlander, died in the liberation of Rome, 1944, and his gr...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published September 22nd 2009 by Penguin Books (first published September 1st 2009)
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Michael
After being thoroughly disappointed by Keillor's last Lake Wobegon offering, I was hoping for something different with his latest installment. And while "Pilgrims" isn't nearly as cynical and jaded as "Liberty," it's still not same Keillor I liked so much in "Lake Wobegon Days" and "Leaving Home."

"Pilgrims" tells the story of a dozen Lake Wobegonians journey to Italy for a tour and so Marjorie Krebsbach can honor the grave of a fallen soldier from Lake Wobegon. She's also hoping to rekindle a bi...more
Emilia P
I remembered why I liked Keillor, thank you very much this book. He has equal affection for a liason dangereuse as he does for dull sweet lasting married love. He skewers the ugly American as well as those who eschew their Wobegonian place in the world. Yes, we have to dream to stay alive, sometimes dreaming bigger than we can manage in any sustainable way, but, as he says, even the Pope has to go home and eat cheese sandwiches. And even the shy, obedient Minnesota attitude that one may long to...more
Marilyn
I do not know why this book has not met with better reviews. This is the first book of Garrison Keillor's that I have read. I loved it, especially the bits about the Lutherans. I am Lutheran, and married to a Catholic so I get the humor. My husband and I have always enjoyed Garrison's radio show, so that is why I decided to buy this book. And, don't ya know, I was not disappointed.

I am looking forward to reading more books written by Garrison. Despite some of the harsh criticism written concern...more
Kathleen
A dozen citizens (personal stories and baggage included) of Lake Woebegon undertake a pilgrimage to Rome to fulfill a mother's dying wish of embellishing the gravestone of her son, a local hero of WWII. You may expect this to be all feel-good folksy but it does have some punch, although it's never really mean or disrespectful to the alarmingly and comically conformist Minnesotans.
Patricia
All she wants is for her husband to notice her.... but her efforts to get him to notice her takes her to Rome with half the people of Lake Wobegone...and Garrison Keilor with her. I didn't expect that little dalliance on the way! Use this book as a breath of fresh air betwen some more serious works....or when you have the flu and are confined to the sofa.
Jillian
The first book I have read by Garrison Keillor whose radio program I have heard from time to time. His story-telling ability shines through, along with his sense of humour and sharp observation of humanity. I like his matter-of-fact descriptions of absurd actions and conversations; his portrayal of very ordinary life as pilgrimage.
Connie
As I was reading, I kept thinking that this was a silly, little book that managed to hold my attention.

However, the ending was almost solemn and much more thought-provoking.

As I thought about this situation, I realized that this is how I often feel when I listen to his weekly radio broadcast, Prairie Home Companion.
Doris Pearson
This read was so funny... plus a shocker, Garrison makes fun of himself and some very graphic "wow" scenes.. still laughing.
Margaret
I have concluded that I (and a few other people) must have a strange sense of humor. This book made me laugh so hard I couldn't breathe, as has some of GKs other books. And yet others find it just so-so or extremely tiresome. However, at the same time, I am TRYING to get through The Flying Troutmans, which supposedly has readers rolling in the aisles. Not me, not even a chuckle. All I think is 'Stupid'. I just don't get it.

I just love going back to Lake Wobegon where small problems and irritati...more
Ron Arden
This was a great antidote to the late winter, early spring weather and blahs. Garrison Keillor takes us on a trip with some of the Lake Wobegon characters to Rome.

Margie Krebsbach winds up meeting the brother (Norbert) of a man (Gussie) from Lake Wobegon who was killed in Italy during WW2. Norbert promised his late mother that he would go to Italy and put a plaque on Gussie's grave. The mother had been saving for years and Norbert gives Margie the money to do this deed for him; he's old and dyin...more
Ken
In Pilgrims, Garrison Keillor takes a dozen residents of Lake Wobegon, including himself, to Rome for a week of tourism and self-discovery. Although 12 characters figure in the journey, the focus (and the self-discovery) falls primarily on Majorie, who initiated and organized the trip in the hope that it would rekindle the flames of romance in her marriage.

Pilgrims follows a typical hero's journey, where the main character leaves the comforts of home to an unfamiliar place and then returns home...more
Carolyn Gerk
I spotted this book on the shelves of a used book shop and it caught my eye. Garrison Keillor, where did I know that name? Then it hit me, he was the author of a quote I had read on a blog I follow. " These are peasant boots, and I will be a pleasant peasant, not a grouser. " It goes on, I can't recall it now, nor can I find the page where I first spotted it.
None the less, I recognized the author's name and flipped this book open to a random page and read a random quote and thought to myself, y...more
Donna
Oh my stars. Keillor is at his finest here. I've never read anything funnier.

By now you probably have an idea whether or not you are a Keillor buff. His appeal is largely (but not limited to) the aging boomer generation. His trademark capacity to satirize people from rural Minnesota, and in particular Lutherans and Norwegians and most of all himself, is legend. He somehow manages to tug the heartstrings occasionally and evoke bittersweet feelings that are experienced by those of us who grew up i...more
Mike
Most reviews of this book will start the same way I start this one: I love "A Prairie Home Companion", and count myself a faithful listener. Garrison's monologues are an American treasure. I so looked forward to reading this book.

Unfortunately Garrison's books don't work so well for me. I liked "Pontoon" OK. It was silly, but I liked the way it worked its way up to a crescendo of inanity. Still, I didn't plan to read another Keillor book, and I wouldn't have picked up Pilgrims except that the Wa...more
Birgitta
This book was more entertaining than I expected. Garrison Keillor really understands how people talk in groups. He captures the random stories that come up when people have lots of time together. It was one of these stories, towards the end of the book, that was laugh out loud funny. Of course, this had to happen when I was in public. While reading quietly on a flight home, I started laughing out loud. The woman sitting next to me started to laugh because I was laughing and asked what book I was...more
Christi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jean Taylor
Excellent visit with my favorite Lake Wobegonians. I wasn't crazy about how Keillor added himself to the story. It seemed completely extraneous and distracting. IMO, the story would have been better if he'd left himself out of it. Just sayin'....
Paula Hebert
this is another wonderful story about our beloved lake woebegoners, twelve of whom find themselves on a plane to rome to honor a deceased town war hero, whose story is not quite what they have believed all their lives. they are accompanied by the author himself, who has, to his amazement, offered to pay for the trip! having garrison with them adds to the fun, especially since most of them are not fans, and are not shy about telling him how he could improve. each of the grouph has their story to...more
Lori Duff
More like 3.5 stars. Engaging, funny, thought provoking. Not great, but very good and definitely worth reading.
Andy Walker
Mr Keillor's familiar Lake Wobegonians return in print, but with a twist. Pilgrims is his take on Chaucer's Canterbury Tales with a dash of Twain's Innocent's Abroad added to the mix. High school English teacher Margie Krebsbach leads a party of pilgrims to Rome, ostensibly to honour a local boy who died in World War II, but in reality in an attempt to perk-up her flagging 35-year marriage to Carl. Keillor's unfailing narrative style, his cat-like ear for dialogue and well-hewn charactersation m...more
Leslie
For years I'd heard Margie Krebsbach's name but had never really formed any opinion. As she is the center of this bit of metafiction, I will never forget her and her adventures in Rome; and what adventures...oh, my, Margie!!! And I enjoyed "Gary Keillor" as part of the story, too...taking notes as the "pilgrims" are enjoying their visit to Rome (or not). The book isn't for everyone, but I enjoyed the fast-reading diversion. It wasn't as goofy as "Pontoon" (which just made me laugh, so much slaps...more
Jane
I must be a true fan because I liked this book more than many of its reviewers have. A group of folks from Lake Wobegon travel to Rome to put a photograph on their local, supposed WWII war hero, Gussy Norlander's grave. As one can imagine, some mild hilarity ensues when the group of Norwegians reach Rome.

The group leader, Margie Krebsbach, has some of Gussie's letters home to his brother, and these add weight to the book. I suspect the letters reflect Garrison Keillor's own view of war in genera...more
Debby
I began this book with the notion that it was supposed to be funny. I guess it could be if you were a Minnesotan who could relate to the characters in this book. Keillor's definition of plot must be very different from mine. This book was all over the place. There were times I had to go back and re-read portions to try to figure out what I missed only to find I didn't miss a thing - the story is what was lacking. I'm sure this story is to Minnesotans what The Great Gatsby was to the 1920s, but b...more
Derek Baldwin
A group of Lake Wobegonites journey to Rome and then obligingly fade into the background so that Margie Krebsbach can take centre stage.... And that's about as much as I can say without revealing the plot which has some nice twists but really is just an amiable ramble through the usual Lake Wobegon folksiness. None of which I mean to denigrate, and featuring himself as a character in the book was quite a neat trick, but this is small beer really. Perfectly entertaining, of course - Keillor could...more
Patti
I did enjoy this book, although I agree with another reviewer that the premise of the book leads one to think this could have been funnier. It had a strong start, but goes off in a different direction that sort of left me feeling a bit befuddled. The concept of the citizens of a small, cozy, steadfast in their ways town, touring Rome seems to open up opportunities, but instead the book goes in an odd direction.

Overall, I liked the book, but it left me feeling like something was missing...
Charlene
Haven't listened to Keillor much nor read any of his other books so felt a bit lost in this one, trying to figure out the characters. There were a few funny moments & some that just dragged on for too long; also thought the insertion of the author as a character in the book didn't "flow" well. Last chapter of the book though was excellent; I read it twice, it pulled everything together and was a good, thoughtful "happy ending" to the story. Maybe I'll read another of Keillor's Wobegon novel....more
Maxine
Not one of G.K.'s better efforts. In fact, one of his worst. Instead of mundane incidents made unforgettable by Keillor's dry humor and sense of irony; here we have what should be an adventure made dull by the lack of humor and the apparent attempt to cover the lack by writing sleaze.By the middle, it wasn't hard to predict the main plot. Although there was a bit of a surprise at the end, it wasn't enough to redeem this rather embarrassing effort.
David Grieve
A wonderful yarn about a group of Lake Wobegon residents who take a trip to Rome to honour one of their compatriots who died in the war there. It is warm, funny and sardonic with such believable characters that I spent most of the time wondering whether it was real or made up. The storyline is fairly basic but that is irrelevant with the characters reminiscing and interacting with each other. A great book by a man who really knows his subject.
Kim
This story was a fun, quick read. The characters are full of funny quirks that are familiar to anyone who listens to Keillor's Prairie Home Companion radio show. I didn't like how Gary Keillor was a character himself; I found the self-effacing humor that he directed at himself annoying. The premise of taking the characters out of Lake Woebegone and moving them to Italy provided a fun escape and juxtaposition to the normal Keillor storyline.
Agnes
Enjoyed this farce by Keeler. He has such command of our language and people's foibles. Twelve Wobegonians travel to Rome to place a picture on grave of WWII 'hero' who turns out to not be; one gets taken by daughter of same, but doesn't really; Gary Keeler goes along, too, and really puts himself donwn as a character. These are such relaxing reading; just fun.
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Garrison Keillor (born Gary Edward Keillor on August 7, 1942 in Anoka, Minnesota) is an American author, storyteller, humorist, columnist, musician, satirist, and radio personality. He is known as host of the Minnesota Public Radio show "A Prairie Home Companion".

Keillor was born in Anoka, Minnesota, the son of Grace Ruth (née Denham) and John Philip Keillor, who was a carpenter and postal worker....more
More about Garrison Keillor...
Good Poems Lake Wobegon Days Good Poems for Hard Times Pontoon: A Novel of Lake Wobegon Lake Wobegon Summer, 1956

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