Garrison Keillor write about universal themes and people. More than that though he imbues them with a warmth and affection that is rare in an age where objectivity is the norm.
The people are universal because you realise as you read that you know them, they are the people that you too grew up with. Their character, their strengths, their flaws are all recognisable. These are three dimensional people that you too want to live beside.
When the author uses an old joke on which to hang a story you forgive him. The setting in which he places it, the craft with which he wraps it up just make the old chestnut that much more enjoyable.
When he talks about someone telling a joke, too racked with the humour of it to finish the joke for laughing - well, we've all smiled at someone doing that... haven't we?
Those critics who raved about Lake Wobegon Days had a point but Keillor saved the better work, the greater warmth, for the stories in this collection.
Read them with delight and smile with regret as you reach the last page.