A decade after he first explored the small-town precincts of Lake Wobegon, Minnesota, Garrison Keillor makes a comical return to his roots. Not that Wobegon Boy takes place entirely within Mist County. The narrator, John Tollefson, made an early exit from his hometown and has spent the last 20 years managing a college radio station in upstate New York. Here he seems to have put a healthy distance between himself and his Wobegonian past. For the author, John's job is a handy pulpit, allowing him to fulminate against radio, New Age affectation, and campus politicking. Keillor remains a master of the cantankerous one-liner, yet there's a romance here, too--between John and a historian named Alida Freeman. And while Keillor can't resist roping Alida into his own pan-Scandinavian schtick--she's writing a scholarly study of a 19th-century Norwegian neuropath who administered high colonics to Lincoln himself--the love story is genuinely touching and gives the novel an extra emotional ballast. So, too, does the magnetic pull of Lake Wobegon. John keeps describing life back in Minnesota as one long exercise in sensory (and emotional) deprivation: "We were not brought up to experience pleasure, so it doesn't register with us, like writing on glass with a pencil. Dullness is our stock-in-trade, dullness honed to its keenest edge." Nonetheless, he returns twice in the course of the novel, and his sojourns among the Lutherans are the source of not only comedy but home truths.