This utterly charming, deeply poignant debut remains perhaps the signature achievement of beloved novelist Jon Hassler—once hailed by The New York Times as “a writer good enough to restore your faith in fiction.” It’s the story of a week in the life of Miles Pruitt, a thirty-five-year-old bachelor who teaches high school English in Staggerford, Minnesota. And though it is only a week, it’s an extraordinary week, filled with the poetry of living, the sweetness of expectation, and the glory of surprise that can change a life forever.
Praise for Staggerford
“Witty, intelligent, compassionate . . . an absolutely smashing first novel.”—The Plain Dealer
“You’ll remember it for a long time.”—The Minneapolis Tribune
“One of the year’s truly freshly conceived and carried out novels, one whose not always so gentle ironies address themselves to a broader range of life than is to be found in Staggerford, Minnesota.”—The Kansas City Star
“A thoroughly convincing X-ray vision of small-town life . . . so sincere, so true, so honest with itself, and so very, very funny that a reader often has to wipe the tears out of the corners of his eyes before he can—as he must—read on.”—The Houston Post
“Very entertaining . . . [Miles is] one of the most likable protagonists of modern fiction.”—The Pittsburgh Press
“Staggerford, Minnesota, is a town out of control. It is as weird and convoluted as any lover of comic fiction could wish.”—Boston Herald American
At the age of eighty-eight, Agatha McGee has grudgingly moved out of her house on River Street and into the Sunset Senior Apartments. She’s not happy about giving up her independence, and Sunset Senior’s arts and crafts activities and weekly excursions to the Blue Sky Casino are hardly a consolation. Meanwhile two of her close friends pass away, her nephew Frederick is drifting into depression, and a kidnapped little girl has suddenly appeared on her doorstep. With characteristic poise and dignity, Agatha takes on her problems and finds that the bonds of friendship and family are still the key to happiness at any age. Affectionate and life-affirming, The New Woman is another delightful trip to a town with a soul as real as rural America itself.
In The Staggerford Murders, residents of the Ransford Hotel "solve" the nine- year-old murder of esteemed Staggerford citizen Neddy Nichols and the disappearance of his widow, Blanche. Hassler’s wry humor is in full force as this wonderful tale unfolds. In the more poignant and bittersweetThe Life and Death of Nancy Clancy’s Nephew, elderly W.D. Nestor finds his loneliness dispelled by his friendship with a young Staggerford boy, but it is a sudden visit to his one hundred-year-old Aunt Nancy that provides the peace he has always been looking for.