Friday, June 05, 2020

Book Beginnings: Pilgrims

Pilgrims: A Wobegon Romance, by Garrison Keillor
(First published 2009)

Opening Lines
The first of the pilgrims through the International Arrivals portal at Leonardo da Vinci was Margie Krebsbach, face scrubbed, fresh, grinning, towing her husband Carl who looked stunned as if struck by a ball-peen hammer, and then the others came slouching and shuffling along, jet-lagged, brain-dead, and right away she spotted the thin, spiky-haired man in the blue blazer holding up a sign — LAKE WOBEGON — in one hand, high and she let out a whoop and let go of Carl.

About the Book
Margie Krebsbach dreams up the idea of a trip to Rome, hoping to renew her husband's romantic interest. She also finds a patriotic purpose for the journey: A Lake Wobegon boy, Gussy Norlander, died in the liberation of Rome, 1944, and his grave, according to his elderly brother Norbert, is in a neglected weed patch near the Colosseum. So it's decided they will go to clean Gussy's final resting place.

But Margie is unprepared for the enthusiastic response —fifty people want to go with her, including her nemesis, the mayor of Lake Wobegon, Carl's bossy sister Eloise, Mr. Berge the town drunk, and her treacherous mother-in-law. Margie gets the motley crew to the airport and aboard the plane, and then discovers one of the secret pleasures of travel — safely away from Lake Wobegon, the pilgrims' memories are quickened and they recall long-forgotten incidents. In this alien territory, they tell stories of astonishing frankness and self-revelation all delivered with Keillor's trademark humor. 

Initial Thoughts

Okay, my FIRST thought was that that is one very LONG opening sentence. But it does sound a lot like Garrison Keillor.

I've been looking for something to read for the 2020 European Reading Challenge. It's always one of my favorite challenges, but I haven't been doing very well with it this year. Pilgrims takes place (at least most of it) in Italy, and it's been on my TBR list ever since it came out back in 2009. And I already own a copy, so that makes it even more attractive.

Have a good weekend, everyone.
Stay safe. Stay calm. And happy reading!

Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Friday.  As she says, the idea is to post the first sentence (or so) of the book you're currently reading, along with any first impressions or thoughts you have about the book, the author, etc.  It's a wonderful way of adding new books to your must-read list, and a chance to connect with other readers and bloggers.


  1. How intriguing! I've never read Garrison Keillor, but now I want to check this one out. Thanks for sharing, and here's mine: “WATCH ME DISAPPEAR”

  2. I like long opening sentences like that one. They tell a whole story in one sentence.

    Have fun with your Italy book for the European Reading Challenge!

  3. That opening sentence kinda puts me off. All except for Lake Wobegon. I haven't heard of that in ten years. But it certainly sets and interesting setting.

    Here's my Friday!

  4. Pilgrims sounds promising, I have not read an of his books.


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