Clint is one of the old reliables in Lake Wobegon - the treasurer of the Lutheran church and the auto mechanic who starts your car on below-zero mornings. For six years he has run the Fourth of July parade, turning what was once a line of pickup trucks and girls pushing baby carriages that hold their cats into a dazzling spectacle that has attracted the attention of CNN and prompted the governor to put in an appearance as well. The town is dizzy with anticipation.
Until, that is, they hear of Clint's ambition to run for Congress. They're embarrassed for him. They know him too well - his unfortunate episodes involving vodka sours, his rocky marriage. And then there is his friendship, or whatever it is, with the twenty-four-year-old girl who dresses up as the Statue of Liberty for the parade. It's rumoured that underneath those robes she is buck naked, and that her torch contains a quart of booze.
It's Lake Wobegon as it's always been - good, loving people who drive each other crazy.
Clint Bunsen of Keillor's Lake Wobegon is planning his sixth Fourth of July celebration, but by the time it rolls around he's been booted from the planning committee; his wife, Irene, is chillier than ever; and his 60-something hormones have him lusting after the much-younger Angelica Pflame, whose "commando" performance as the Statue of Liberty in last year's parade is still a hot topic in the sleepy burg. In other words, everything's as you'd expect in a Keillor novel. There are quite a few subplots bubbling along quietly until everything erupts in a madcap denouement that combines elements of the Keystone Kops, I Love Lucy and Monty Python. Keillor's pacing and command of smalltown plot is impeccable; just at the moment when Clint's obsession with a genealogical discovery has become unbearable, the rug gets pulled out from under him. It's a Keillor novel that does what Keillor novels do: entertain and color nicely within the lines.