Garrison Keillor’s Marooned

While Garrison Keillor’s Marooned is not ha-ha funny story, it is funny because it’s a serious story that uses humor to enlighten the reader’s experience. The stories focus on the narrator’s brother-in-law, Dave Grebe, an unremarkable and narcissistic stationery store clerk who tries on religions like socks. In the beginning, he renounces materialism, becomes a Tuan, the kind of Buddhist, and wanders around airport terminals holding up signs “your life is a lie.” His ego doesn’t allow him to keep his philosophy to himself (as someone with a real philosophy would) and he switches to a different religion called capitalism. Here he becomes one with Milo from Catch-22. Dave takes over the stationery store, makes it a huge success and then writes a book that turned “Tuanism inside out and restated it in capitalist terms, and made low cash flow seems like a denial of God’s love.” Naturally, the book sells millions. The narrator, a person entrenched in the American capitalist system as an advertiser, becomes its victim. Capitalism and the American dream are about boom and busts, not people who want a steady job and a good retirement. As a result, the brother-in-law is a success even though he’s a hack while the narrator is a failure even though he’s a hard worker who means well. Thankfully, things get turned around by end of the story.

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