by Fannie Flagg
Published November 29th 2016 by Random House
Synopsis: 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.
My Review: 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.