The Whole Town’s Talking

Do you know that feeling when you have stared at the screen so long that these backlit pieces of technology start to make you blind (and dumb)? Well, I just got up and got a library membership. I assume the 3 week return deadlines will be enough to keep me reading and off the screen (atleast for some time).

Coming to the book, Fannie Flagg’s The Whole Town’s Talking is a pretty different piece of writing. I won’t recommend it for the fast paced readers or the sci-fi/adventure afficionados. This novel is a narrative. A walk through the history and into the future of Elmwood Springs, Missouri.


The story begins in 1885 with the life of the Swedish immigrant dairy farmer, Lordor Nordstrom. The narrative glosses over the years that follow starting from the establishment of Elmwood Springs and the dairy all the way to the 2020s. Over the span of the novel, we learn about mail-order brides, the first and second world war, the coming of Walmart, the disco culture, the cellphones and finally the story fades away with the town into the 2020s. At the centre of the story is this growing small town and the Nordstrom family. As it traces the growth and culture of America through the generations that come and live there, we get a nice insight into the lives and times of the people. The rather mundane narrative is peppered with mystery and murders, with tragedies and afterlife and with funny quips and obituaries.The story, through its subtle anecdotes, also gives an insight into some ‘lessons of life’. Special mention to Aunt Elner for being the ‘pocket-ful of sunshine’.

An amusing read yet a little too prosaic for my taste. But definitely pick it up on a lazy rainy Sunday with a cup of hot chocolate and marshmallows.



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