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The Whole Town's Talking: A Novel by…
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The Whole Town's Talking: A Novel

by Fannie Flagg

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The Whole Town's Talking is a classic, feel-good story, with lovable characters, a quaint wholesome town where almost everyone does the right thing and a rather interesting town cemetery. It is not all proper, it is spiced up with a few down and out characters, like a drinker, a cheating husband, and even a plot involving murder and fraud. It is all told with that typical Fannie Flagg humor and wit we have come to expect. The story takes place in a small town in Missouri and spans from 1889 to 2020.

Lordor Nordstrom, a farmer who emigrates from Sweden, buys some desirable land in Missouri which he clears for a dairy farm. Then, he places an ad for other farmers to come settle in this area, which several do, so they can build a community. Lordor decides that every community needs a cemetery, so he designates an area and they call it Still Meadows Cemetery. This is an odd idea to me as the townspeople actually stake claim to the area they want to be buried and take care of it like it is a garden or park. They plant trees, bushes etc. and often come to weed it etc. When Lodor realizes that he is not going to find a wife in the community, his friends convince him to place a second ad in the paper looking for a "mail order bride". The letters back and forth between Lodor and Katrina are delightful. After their marriage, and the establishing of the town, Elmwood Springs, the story continues through the years focusing on the residents of the town through love, marriage, birth, death, war, depression, and even murder. At the same time, something strange is happening at Still Meadows Cemetery....

All the characters you'll meet in this book are people you wish were your neighbours. If you ever needed anything, they are there for you. This is a charming multi-generational story of life (and afterlife) in Elmwood Springs, MO starting in 1880's. It is an enjoyable read meeting these fun, wholesome, quirky characters that takes you back to a simpler time in America. This is a wonderful book for lovers of women's fiction as well as those interested in a lighter view of history. My only complaint is that I was not sure if I liked the ending or not. It is definitely a unique view of the afterlife. Thank-you to the publisher Random House who generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley. ( )
  Carlathelibrarian | Feb 5, 2019 |
I've previously read two of [[Fannie Flagg]]'s books: the iconic [Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe] and the enjoyable [Redbird Christmas].

So when I saw this audiobook at a FOL sale, I picked it up.

This follows the townspeople of a Elmwood Springs, Missouri, from it's first settling in 1889 by homesteader Lordor Nordstrom and his mail-order bride.

The original group of settlers grows, marries, has children, becomes elderly and die. We then see their offspring and their offspring's offspring through several generations.

'The Whole Town's Talking' is a gossipy column in the local newspaper. It also refers to those buried in the cemetery who continue to observe and comment on events; until one by one, the dead mysteriously disappear.

I enjoyed the pioneer section of this novel. And I also liked the moments of humor, especially with the wonderful Elner Shimfissle.

But as this novel progressed through the generations, there became dozens of inhabitants living ordinary lives. And while the day to day can be certainly beautiful, unfortunately, these characters and their brief appearances in the novel did not really catch my attention. I thought most of them had little depth due to their very numbers.

I listened to the audiobook while driving and it worked well for that. But it's not on my recommended list. I will, however, try Fannie Flagg again. ( )
  streamsong | Jan 21, 2019 |
I'm between 3-4 stars. I have a personal reading bias against books that cover long periods of time because it usually means a lot of characters die. A huge period of time was covered in this story.
It begins at the town's beginning. The story starts with Lordor forming the town. He establishes the cemetery, he starts a family of his own, he becomes the first mayor and he even brings in all the first businesses.

Simply put, Lordor is an amazing guy.
He is also the first towns person to pass away.
When he dies, a new story begins as well.
Death is handled in a really beautiful way in this story because no one just goes away and ceases to exist.
They are able to see life in their town move on. They see their families continue to grow.

Beautiful. Sad at times. But a very sweet story of life after death and life moving on.

Elner was my favorite character. I loved her.

I also love the very end of the story. ( )
  Mishale1 | Dec 29, 2018 |
In a very small town, generations of very nice people are born, grow up, marry, have children, grow old, die, are buried in the local graveyard where they continue to gather together to gossip about each new generation. The Whole Town's Talking by Fannie Flagg is character driven both in life and afterlife and it is at times, charming and humorous. But after a while, I found myself wondering if anything happened in this town despite the characters living through wars and a Great Depression only to die and continue their slow happy lives in their Afterlives together with all their relatives past and future. Trouble is, all these characters (and there are so so many both living and dead) pretty much all seemed interchangeable and, even with the odd names, every time I put the book down, I found myself having to go back to figure out which generation we were on now.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed The Whole Town's Talking for what it was, a nice charming even whimsical story of small town life but, in some ways, it seemed like those small towns in old black & white movies where just about everyone is really good and there are no scandals but, at least in those old movies, there was usually a crooked banker or mine owner or overly ambitious journalist to add tension. Here, everyone is...just nice. ( )
  lostinalibrary | Dec 2, 2018 |
This is the first time any of us had read anything by this author. No one knew what to expect. We had decided to pick a light-hearted book because the last two were somewhat depressing. This book certainly fit the bill. It's a quick read and would make a perfect book to take to the beach. We all agreed that it was a cute story and was probably how most people hoped life would be after death.

At times the story was humorous and took us on a trip down memory lane, pointing out certain nostalgic events. The book began well with the founding fathers and we felt like we were getting to know them but as soon as we did, they passed away and the book moved on to the next generation. After that, the book began to go downhill. There was just too much crammed into the story. As soon as we began to get to know a new character, Poof, they died. It was really hard to keep track of them and because of that, we had a hard time connecting with the story. We also felt what happened to the town, in the end, was depressing and quite unexpected. Overall we were somewhat disappointed with this book. ( )
  tinahogangrant | Oct 27, 2018 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 140006595X, Hardcover)

From the beloved author of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe comes another unforgettable, laugh-out-loud, and moving novel about what it means to be truly alive.
 
Elmwood Springs, Missouri, is a small town like any other, but something strange is happening out at the cemetery. “Still Meadows,” as it’s called, is anything but still. Funny and profound, this novel in the tradition of Flagg’s Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven and Thornton Wilder’s Our Town deals with universal themes of heaven and earth and everything in between, as Flagg tells a surprising story of life, afterlife, and the mysterious goings-on of ordinary people.

(retrieved from Amazon Tue, 12 Apr 2016 02:48:50 -0400)

Lordor Nordstrom created, in his wisdom, not only a lively town and a prosperous legacy for himself but also a beautiful final resting place for his family, friends, and neighbors yet to come. "Resting place" turns out to be a bit of a misnomer, however. Odd things begin to happen, and it starts the whole town talking. With her wild imagination, great storytelling, and deep understanding of folly and the human heart, the beloved Fannie Flagg tells an unforgettable story of life, afterlife, and the remarkable goings-on of ordinary people. In The Whole Town's Talking, she reminds us that community is vital, life is a gift, and love never dies.--Provided by publisher.… (more)

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