Garrison Keillor looks back on ‘That Time of Year’


“That Time of Year”

By Garrison Keillor

Arcade Publishing, $30

Grade: A-

Garrison Keillor has been holed up in Manhattan during the pandemic, but he left his heart in the Twin Cities. His first memoir, “That Time of Year: A Minnesota Life,” has its fair share of juicy tidbits about the often reclusive author, but he’s more passionate about honoring his homeland than looking inward.

Keillor is at his breeziest when honoring his childhood heroes: sharing an elevator with Cedric Adams, channeling Steve Cannon’s brashness while working as a parking attendant, listening to Herb Carneal broadcast Twins games, savoring a steak dinner with Irv Letofsky.

Reflections on fellow Minnesotans aren’t always kind. As he did in his book of limericks, released last year, he takes a swipe at Bob Dylan, attacking his lyrics as “gaseous emanations of sensibility.” He saves his sharpest attacks for his former employer, Minnesota Public Radio.

His bitterness clearly stems from the way MPR management and the press handled accusations that he had behaved inappropriately at work, which led to a dismissal and his reputation taking a major hit.

Keillor sees the incident as being “hung out to dry for a mutual e-mail flirtation” and doesn’t go into much more detail than that.

You may not catch Keillor in many giggling fits, but readers may laugh aloud when “That Time of Year” looks back at the early days of the radio show, peculiar fan encounters and the making of the Robert Altman film (check out his mixed feelings about Lindsay Lohan).

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