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Idyll Banter: Weekly Excursions to a Very Small Town

af Chris Bohjalian

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228792,442 (3.68)19
Essays by Bohjalian, originally written weekly for his newspaper column, are personal observations of the author's life in Lincoln, Vermont.
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The traumatic experience in NY, described in the book blurb, does not factor into the book itself. ?These (mostly very brief) essays are quite light - sometimes funny, sometimes heartwarming, with only a rare allusion to tragedy. ?áThey're much like the small town stories by Michael Perry, but whereas Perry is on my automatic to-read/wishlist shelf, I've no great desire to read more by Bohjalian. ?áNothing really wrong - I just didn't like him quite as much as a character,* the writing style isn't as poetic, and there's no real narrative to give the reader a cohesive experience. ?á

*Yes, I know they're both real men, neither are characters in stories. ?áBut the thing about Mike is that I adore his writing style, and love his books and CDs, but cannot imagine actually trying to be friends with him. ?áIt's the persona I like. ?áChris is probably a lot easier to get along with... but then again I don't know, as I got to know the town much more than I got to know Chris from this book.

A couple of examples of the writing style:

I know I pine for sweat on those brisk winter days when the temperature's hovering between negative digits and insanity...."
"The first snows are merely a gentle reminder that... splendor here comes in all seasons. ?áEven winter."


" ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
Eh, this one really didn’t do it for me. I have read and enjoyed a couple of Bohjalian’s novels and have a few more TBR, so when I saw this collection of his columns for a newspaper in Burlington, Vermont, I thought it would be a good choice. Not so much… The first problem was the reading. Bohjalian has a strange, awkward pacing that I found off-putting, especially when he ended every essay as if the last few words were separated by periods. It. Was. Very. Annoying.

Also bothersome was the self-congratulatory tone. Why, look at me! I moved from New York City to the wilds of Vermont and what fun I’ve had learning the ways of the natives! Being from a small town, I loathe this kind of patronizing condescension. Bohjalian takes great delight in recording the eccentricities of small town folk who name their cows, shop at the general store, hunt deer, and participate in civic activities. I got the sense that he wanted desperately to fit into this community but by continually drawing attention to its “otherness” (in his eyes), I don’t see how he ever could.

And finally, I don’t think Bohjalian is as funny as he would like to think. He continually employed a faux self-deprecating humor that fell flat. And there was always a pause after one of these “humorous” asides, as if he was giving the listener a chance to finish laughing. I don’t think I chuckled once through the whole thing, much less laughed. ( )
2 stem katiekrug | May 5, 2011 |
This is a collection of newspaper columns that Bohjalian wrote about his transition from life in the city to life in a small town in Vermont. It's an entertaining read, but nothing particularly noteworthy. I prefer his fiction myself. ( )
  sweetiegherkin | Oct 17, 2010 |
As a Bohjalian fan, I'm enjoying this account of his move to a small town in Vermont from a large Eastern City (Boston, I think). A collection of stories he's apparently written for the local newspaper, the book gives us a glimpse of the side of him that's writing truths from a small town, which is more a hobby, rather than fiction, which is his business. Interesting. ( )
  Springerluv | Aug 28, 2009 |
A quick read. These are articles (with the exceptions of one fiction short story at the end) Bohjalian wrote about his very small town in Vermont. Very well written, interesting, and frequently amusing. It was nice to learn a little about his private life. ( )
  whymaggiemay | Jul 13, 2009 |
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Essays by Bohjalian, originally written weekly for his newspaper column, are personal observations of the author's life in Lincoln, Vermont.

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Chris Bohjalian er LibraryThing-forfatter, en forfatter som har sit personlige bibliotek opført på LibraryThing.

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