John Lamb, Published August 28 2010
Lamb: ‘Prairie Home’ horror
I’ve got a title you can really sink your teeth into. Try cracking the spine of “The Zombies of Lake Woebegotten,” by Harrison Geillor.
In the spirit of “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” and “Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters,” “The Zombies of Lake Woebegotten” parodies the fictional works of Minnesota’s own Garrison Keillor. A grim, strikingly tall man with rather pale complexion and deep, monotone voice, Keillor doesn’t really need any more comparisons to the undead.
Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I haven’t read “Zombies” because the book doesn’t come out until Sept. 14.
(Don’t expect Keillor to mention the book when he takes the stage at Trollwood Performing Arts School on Wednesday. Nor would I suspect Keillor’s own St. Paul bookstore, Common Good Books, to hold a book signing – unless things are signed in Geillor’s blood.)
But I did read a review of the book in the literary digest Fangoria magazine, a fanzine for horror movies.
Not that you’d expect a deconstructionist critique from Fangoria (more like a decapitationist), but it’s a favorable write-up, calling it “a well-crafted play in three acts,” the second of which is a “collage of events that is beautifully crafted in a non-linear way.”
And in true Fangoria fashion, the writing is a bit cheeky. “Geillor presents the meat of the story in bits and pieces and leaves it up to the reader to mentally reassemble them into a complete picture.”
The story seems straightforward: idyllic small town overcome with the undead leaving polite, Midwestern townsfolk to act more Miami Vice than Minnesota nice.
Ultimately it spins Norman Rockwell as Norman Bates, or rather the reanimated mother of Norman Bates.
Don’t just take Fangoria’s word for it. A blurb on the cover of the book quotes The Duluth Plains Dealer calling the book “Uproariously funny … If you only read one zombie book this year, read this one.” Never mind that the Duluth Plains Dealer doesn’t appear to be a real paper publication or even a blog.
Mmmm … brains. Keillor brains. Mammoth, meat and potatoes brains … that give shy people the strength to rise from their graves and do what needs to be done. Heavens, they’re tasty and delicious.
And those are the reviews for “Lake Woebegotten,” where all the living women fight strong, the men are dead looking and the children are above-average, even for zombies.
Readers can reach Forum columnist John Lamb at (701) 241-5533