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A Christmas Blizzard

2.91  ·  Rating details ·  1,553 ratings  ·  346 reviews
A short comic novel about a Hawaii-bound holiday traveler who ends up stranded in his North Dakota hometown during a blizzard. A wealthy and depressed man (thanks to the economy he’s not quite rich enough to expand his cache of paintings by Vincent Van Guy, the famed Dutch realist) bound for Christmas in the tropics is abruptly summoned home to North Dakota to visit an ail ...more
Audio CD, 5 pages
Published November 10th 2009 by HighBridge Company (first published January 1st 2009)
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Average rating 2.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,553 ratings  ·  346 reviews

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Aug 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
James Sparrow is a depressed but extremely wealthy man who does his best to avoid the cheery Christmas holiday as well as his hometown of Looseleaf. A dying uncle calls him home to say goodbye, and an act of nature via a blizzard makes him stay long enough to experience magical things that make him re-evaluate his life, who he is and what he stands for.

Garrison Keillor reigns supreme as the all-American storyteller of better days gone by. Nobody tells stories quite like he does; he's like the No
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: christmas
A Bizarre Christmas Book, Our Daily Press Interviews Our Book Group, and Hallmark Christmas Movies

Our small town Daily Press sent a young man to interview our book group while we were reviewing this lovely book. Lovely. No, bizarre and boring. Still, we had a fun meeting showing off our skills to the press and delighting him with our waywardness, I think. Anyway, in his email to me he said he had a fun time. And Sunday the article was on the front page of the paper. Small towns are like that, co
I guess I should have paid more attention to the relatively low ratings for this book, but my brain kept saying, "Oh, but you always love Garrison Keillor."

Stupid brain!

This is an unremarkable, and thankfully short, tale about a curmudgeonly, filthy-rich man on his way to spend Christmas in Hawaii. During a stopover in his hometown, frigid Looseleaf, North Dakota, his private jet becomes grounded during a blizzard. He visits with an oddball assortment of relatives, confronts some ghosts from his
More than a few years ago I listened to A Prairie Home Companion while driving across the country, a set of CD’s that I’d bought for my father many years before, and which he’d loved.

That was my introduction to Garrison Keillor, and I loved his stories, and this place where all the women are strong, the men are good looking, and the children above average. I loved listening to his sharing these charming, homespun tales, and had expectations that this would be along the same lines, at least in th
Peter Monn
Dec 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What an amazingly wonderful Christmas story. I’ll post my full review on my booktube channel at ...more
Feb 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing

Just finished listening to this on audiobook.

Simply said, I enjoyed it. It was a funny, quirky, tongue-in-cheek little Christmas story.

What I especially liked is that it's a Christmas story that is also making fun of the the cliche of Christmas stories. Hence the tongue-in-cheekness.

What's even better, is that it's *not* another version of A Christmas Carol. Huzzah for someone doing something new.

If you show up expecting a Lake Wobegon story, I can see how people would be disappointed. But t
Dec 29, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction, snoooze
Maybe it's because I've never read Keillor's work. Maybe it's because I haven't exactly had a good Christmas season this year. Maybe it's because I just wasn't in the mood. Or maybe, just maybe, this book was just a wee bit boring. And confusing. And weird in a way I just couldn't get down with.
Was it real? Was it a hallucination? Was it just a waste of time?
I just could not get through this book.

Let me explain it this way: the book is short - 100 or so pages - and it took me over a week to rea
Mar 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Book Title: The Christmas Blizzard
Author: Garrison Keillor
Genre: General Fiction, Humor
Rating: 4 Stars
Format: Book on CD

If you've ever listened to Garrison Keillor on "A Prairie Home Companion" telling the tales of Lake Woebegon, you'll know what a joy it is to listen to a storyteller weave a tale that amuses and teaches, all at the same time.

I'm still not sure exactly what happened here, but I had a ripping good time listening to it while driving around town for the past week. It's the story of
Dec 16, 2016 rated it liked it
I FINALLY finished this.

I thought I would be in love with every single moment of this novel. And I was--for the first hour or so (I listened to it).

I really love Garrison Keillor. He is warm, comforting, and funny, and I thought there could be nothing better than a Garrison Keillor Christmas tale. After all, the Prairie Home Companion Christmas special is always my favorite episode of the year. However, this just didn't work out.

An entire novel by Garrison Keillor was a little too much. His wh
Jun 11, 2011 rated it it was ok
Not much to say about this one...just a little weird. I had heard good things about Garrison Keilor's writing, and I tend to like Christmas stories, so I thought I'd try this one out. I don't think I'll read anything else by Keilor. It wasn't bad, just not in a style I like. There was one thoughtful passage, though.

"You are the benefactor of great kindness. And you have no idea how much goodness is lavished on the world by invisible hands. Small, selfless deeds engender tremendous force against
Dec 11, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, christmas
Chicago millionaire James Sparrow wants to spend Christmas in Hawaii in order to escape from his lifelong fear that he will put his tongue on an iron pump handle and it will freeze there.

So. Anyway.

On his way to Hawaii, he stops in North Dakota to visit a dying uncle and ends up stranded when a blizzard moves in. He decides to stay in an ice-fishing cabin on a frozen lake, where he's visited by various people both real and imaginary, including a wolf who's the reincarnation of a friend who died
Dec 30, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This starts off wonderfully, but I think it comes slightly unstuck with some supernatural content, which isn't Keillor's natural territory. However, his humour and vivid depiction of smalltown life still make it well worth reading.

Angel White
This was leftover from my December TBR. I had a hard time getting through this one. I was excited to read this one as it states it's similarity to A Christmas Carol but it fell flat for me. I loved the idea but overall this wasn't a favorite. ...more
Connie  Kuntz
Nov 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Garrison Keillor is so distinctively silly and mature and dark and optimistic that I just want to sit down with him and ask him all sorts of inappropriate questions that are none of my business. It is because of this curiosity that I enjoy reading his books so much.

Listening to him on NPR is great fun and I definitely enjoyed his performance and craftsmanship in the film A Prairie Home Companion, but it's through his writing that I feel most rejuvenated.

Through the airwaves, his characters are
Jul 15, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
The book overall didn't knock my socks off, but it was an interesting, fun read and had great dialogue that made me laugh out loud several times throughout the book. There are also some surprisingly deep comments made among the banter, and I liked that because I like anything that makes me go, "huh, I hadn't thought of it that way." I feel it's the type of book that I'm going to have to let marinate in my mind for a while, and when I come back in a few weeks/months, I can write what I got out of ...more
Gary Anderson
I'm a Garrison Keillor fan but this take-off of A Christmas Carol didn't do it for me. I almost gave it two stars, but it was laugh-out-loud funny in some places.

The main character is completely unappealing but while Ebenezer Scrooge gradually comes to grips with his miserable self, this guy never really does, and his hallucinations are just kind of goofy and not really the kind of thing that would turn anybody around.

I'm still a fan, but Mr. Keillor missed with this one. It's time to re-read T
Newton Wise
Nov 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I stopped enjoying christmas over a decade ago, and it bothers me. Which is part of the reason I decided to read this. And I'm glad I did. I've been a Keillor fan most of my life, but I haven't listened to his show or picked up one of his books in years, and this reminded me of why I love him. Comforting, funny, left me feeling soothed, like I was laying on the couch in my childhood home listening to PHC, although this was darker than his usual fare. Will I find myself able to pay keen interest ...more
Megan Richardson
Dec 05, 2009 rated it it was ok
Definitely not the best Keillor. Sort of a cross between "A Christmas Carol" and "Skipping Christmas" but nowhere near as good. Normally I enjoy Keillor's folksy humor but it didn't really come through in this novella. I found that it did help if I heard Keillor himself reading it in my head, but my favorite part of this book was that it was over quickly. ...more
Apr 26, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: pbs, christmas
Had this book not been short, I probably would've stopped reading it about midway through. Probably one of the worst Christmas books I've ever read. It was just plain silly and weird. Garrison Keillor's sense of humor got old very fast. I cannot believe I actually finished this book. ...more
Aug 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this, but I grew up in North Dakota and the humor struck a chord with me. I actually listened to it on CD in the authors wonderfully resonant voice. Caught myself laughing out loud several times with tears in my eyes.
Oct 17, 2012 rated it it was ok
I did not care for the storyline or writing style in this book. It was very slow moving, rambling, and incohesive in my opinion. I have heard good things about Garrison Keilor's books, but this one did not catch my attention. ...more
Dec 24, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christmas
What could have been a touching and funny Christmas reclamation story takes a bizarre, unexplained turn toward the end that undoes the whole experience.
Ames A
Dec 20, 2020 rated it did not like it
“A wonderful, feel-good story, bursting with Midwest nostalgia and reminiscent of a Dickens tale...”
OH WAIT. That’s not this book, at all.
I lost count of how many times I paused after a paragraph thinking “wait, WHAT? What did I just read?” A bizarre, “kind-of-retelling” of A Christmas Carol, featuring a main character we don’t care about and stories of Christmases past that are practically criminal.
Like other reviewers, I thought “Garrison Keillor+Christmas. What could go wrong?” Answer: lots.
Peter Heisler
Dec 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 28, 2011 rated it liked it
I recently attended one of the most interesting book club meetings ever. To be sure, the opinions are usually quite mixed but generally friendly. Last night’s discussion, however, was completely different.

I was about the only person in the group who enjoyed the book. I thought it a fun, light, silly poke at Christmas movies and mankind.

I was in the minority (not a new feeling, for sure). As the discussions heated up we noticed a few disturbing points and it seemed as if everyone had read a diffe
Jan 22, 2016 rated it liked it
I picked this novel up because I wanted to read something in the spirit of the season. This is a book that is best read between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day so that the completely sugary coated ending does not ring absurdly hollow. One is more apt to swallow all that sugar at Christmas!
I am a fan of Keillor's fiction because he has such a firm grasp of the Midwestern voice. However, this time out I sensed his mocking that voice too many times for my enjoyment. Usually I find a love and respect
This was a Christmas gift -- and it's true, at first I groaned a little, because receiving a Christmas-themed book seemed a little predictable.

But this book is really witty. It's packed with wit, in my opinion, and is creative and frequently original. The writing is nice, and in general it's just a great story. I wish it had a different title, like Persimmon Portentitudes, or whatever, so that I could more easily convince friends to read it.

At any rate, The Washington Post Book World liked it
Dec 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Although I had picked up a copy of this book last winter, when the audiobook came along, I couldn't resist. I remember my father saying, years ago, that Garrison Keillor could read the phone book and it would be worth listening to.

Excellent choice, listening to this novel. Even though I always hear Keillor's voice when I read his books, this audiobook was a fun experience. At the very beginning, when the main character--one James Sparrow, who hates Christmas--awakens and thinks he's still dreami
Nov 05, 2009 rated it liked it
A cross between Dicken's "A Christmas Carol" and Grishom's "Skipping Christmas" with a little extra twist in the end.
Not the best Keillor but still good. One quote I want to keep - I have gotten lazy about wrapping packages but this pricked my conscience.
"What's important is not the cash value of the gift but the loving intention of the giver - and you show this by how the gift - even the $1.69 bottle of Swank cologne - is wrapped. The recipient hold this work of art in his hands and notices how
Carol E.
Dec 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a short novel, somewhat on the Christmas Carol theme. A guy who hates Christmas ends up being stuck in a blizzard. Various things happen, and he has a change of heart.

Reading this book was like listening to Keillor do his Lake Wobegon monologues. He wanders off the topic into surprising and varied territory, but always comes back and ties it up nicely. I love how his mind wanders and creates. Very imaginative.

I enjoyed this book a lot. If you're a total realist you might not; then again.
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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.

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