As the storytelling host of CBC Radio's The Vinyl Café, Stuart McLean has become one of Canada's best-loved broadcasters. His tales are heartwarming and brimming with real-life humour, and the Vinyl Café collections are perennial best-sellers in Canada. Home from the Vinyl Café, the second in the series of stories collected from the show and the winner of the 1999 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, revisits the lives of Dave, owner of a downtown Toronto record store, his wife, Morley, and their children Stephanie and Sam.
The stories take the reader through a year in the life of the quirky family, beginning with the hilarious Christmas story "Dave Cooks a Turkey." Having forgotten his promise to buy the Christmas turkey, Dave finds a frozen one at an all-night convenience store and thaws it with a hair dryer (and a glass of scotch for him). "Emil" is the touching tale of a homeless man who, much to Dave's chagrin, shows up one day in front of the Vinyl Café wearing ripped pants and slippers. When Emil wins $10,000 in the lottery and gives $500 of it to Morley, she finds a way to return the money to him with little gifts and offerings. In the end, it's Emil who enriches the lives of Dave, Morley, and the children. Other subjects include summer camp, life at the cottage, music lessons, and one fiasco of a Christmas party at which all the parents stay strangely sober while the children accidentally get drunk. McLean's stories vibrate with warmth, laughter, and compassion. And because they had their beginnings in spoken storytelling, these slices of daily life are wonderful to read aloud with friends and family members of all generations. --Mark Frutkin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Colloquial, interlocking stories chronicle the ups and downs of a suburban Toronto couple in this warm-hearted latest by Canadian author and broadcast personality McLean (Stories from the Vinyl Café). "Holland" considers the courtship and marriage of Dave, the owner of the eponymous record store, and his wife, Morley; early differences in perspective (she thinks eating raw onions is gross; he can't stand those frou-frou chive snippets in his eggs) lead them to a spontaneous skating trip to Holland to cement their romance. "Sourdough" concerns what happens when a neighbor asks Dave to baby-sit the starter for his precious sourdough bread; the sweet, charming "Burd" charts the consequences of Dave's decision to feed an unlikely avian visitor. Dave's daughter and niece enter the picture in subsequent stories, and McLean includes funny scenes about holiday dinners and road trips as well as poignant thoughts about the inevitable failing of Dave and Morley's parents. McLean's natural flair for storytelling helps overcome the limitations of the Lake Wobegonesque conceit, and while he reaches for overly cute, contrived humor in several entries, the overall package is highly enjoyable.
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