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Monday, November 18, 2013

Leo Tolstoy vs Garrison Keillor

 

Leo Tolstoy wrote:

“All happy families resemble one another; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

and so Leo tended to write about unhappy families; that quote is from Anna Karenina, certainly the story of an unhappy family.

Garrison Keillor, though, has another take:

Keillor says he understands the sense of dislocation and loneliness at the center of a lot of fiction these days, and went through his own period of alienation when he was young, it’s just that he doesn’t think those feelings make for good stories.

“Sadness, loneliness, being misunderstood, they’re sort of generic,” he said. “We all go through that, really. On the other hand, wit and enthusiasm and passion: Those are individual. What moves my friend the botanist is very different than what moves my wife.”

(That’s from the November 18, 2013 digital edition of the Chicago Tribune; it’s not on the Trib website).

Garrison Keillor is not Tolstoy, although he’s had an almost 40 year run doing weekly stories on Prairie Home Companion, so I guess this means you can become successful telling stories from either side.