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Keepsakes & Other Stories

Jon Hassler

Publication Year: 2009

These seven gentle tales set in Minnesota and North Dakota and all written during the 1970s treat fans of novelist Hassler (A Green Journey; Jemmy) to the earliest fruits of his talent. Some are folksy portraits of small-town characters, while others are drier and more plot driven. Both the title story and "Resident Priest" feature crusty, 74-year-old Father Fogarty, a pastor who's leaving his parish after 23 years. In "Chief Larson," a seven-year-old Indian boy, known (rather improbably) only as "chief" on the reservation, rebels in a small but telling way against his white adoptive family. ""Good News in Culver Bend" tracks two city reporters who travel to a small town and discover "the heart of Christmas." "Chase" and "Christopher, Moony, and the Birds" show how frustrated residents of small towns seek solace. The former, so brief it's nearly a prose poem, hints at Hassler's own adolescent discovery of his talent for fiction; the latter follows a lonely 50-year-old college professor as he goes on a consolatory walk with a student's awkward wife and child, watching "birds on family outings, hopping and halting on the grass." The cleverest story, ""Yesterday's Garbage," follows a "garbologist" who finds the truth about a murder in a trash bin, and is then led to commit one himself. The publisher plans to issue Hassler's later short fiction in three more volumes, starting in the year 2000."" --Publishers Weekly

Published by: Minnesota Historical Society Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 11-15

SouND THE TRUMPETS! This first collection of short stories by Jon Hassler deserves royal fanfare!! Five of these stories are published here for the first time. Two--"Chase"and "Chief Larson" --appeared in literary magazines in the 1970s, before Jon began his meteoric rise to fame as a novelist....


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pp. 17

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pp. 19-22

PICTURE A SUMMER SATURDAY evening in a village surrounded by fields of corn and cattle. A hundred farm families and most of the villagers are concentrated along a two-block stretch of Main Street. They move in...

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pp. 24-33

IF I TELL YOU THAT I, AT FIFTY, am falling in love with birds, what will you think? You, who probably never, from one year to the next, look into the sky at sunrise to see swallows and nighthawks looping and diving over...

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pp. 35-59

ROGER RODE TO TOWN on a wagonload of sweet corn. Rocking with the load and baking under the high August sun, he lay on his stomach with his hands between his face and the rough cobs....

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pp. 61-78

ERNIE BOOKER, THE HUNCHBACK of St. Mary's Convent, unhooked the grasscatcher from the lawn mower and carried it to the edge of the cliff. He knelt and held it low over the side of the cliff to empty it, so that the breeze...

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pp. 80-86

"WHY DID YOU DO IT, Charles Edward?" his mother kept asking him. He was seven and the reasons were clear enough in his mind, but when it came to putting them into words he didn't know where to start. His new parents were forever asking...

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pp. 88-99

THE BEST GRADE OF GARBAGE in this city comes from the Hillcrest neighborhood, and on Thursdays when I make my run through the alleys of Hillcrest, my wife Caledonia rides beside me in the truck, admiring all those fancy back yards. Caledonia...

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pp. 101-118

I was lunching with Johnson at the Eighth Street Bar and Grill, and we were complaining, as we usually do, about our editors. Johnson is the grand old man of the Evening Standard, and I'm the rising star of the Morning Sun--...

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Jon Hassler

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pp. 119

Jon Hassler, Regent's Professor Emeritus at St. John's University (Minnesota), lives with his wife Gretchen in Minneapolis, where he is at work on a second story collection as well as another novel about Agatha McGee.

E-ISBN-13: 9780873518147
E-ISBN-10: 0873518144
Print-ISBN-13: 9780873517874
Print-ISBN-10: 0873517873

Page Count: 120
Publication Year: 2009

Edition: 1