Jon Hassler Books In Order

Staggerford Books In Order

  1. The New Woman (2005)
  2. Staggerford (1977)
  3. Green Journey (1984)
  4. Dear James (1993)
  5. The Staggerford Flood (2002)
  6. The Staggerford Murders (2004)

Rookery State College Books In Order

  1. Rookery Blues (1995)
  2. The Dean’s List (1997)


  1. Four Miles to Pinecone (1977)
  2. Simon’s Night (1979)
  3. Jemmy (1980)
  4. The Love Hunter (1981)
  5. Grand Opening (1987)
  6. North of Hope (1990)


  1. Keepsakes and Other Stories (1999)
  2. Rufus at the Door (2000)



  1. Underground Christmas (1998)

Non fiction

  1. An Interview With Jon Hassler (1990)
  2. My Staggerford Journal (1999)
  3. Good People (2001)
  4. Churches of Minnesota (2005)
  5. Days Like Smoke (2021)

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Jon Hassler Books Overview

The New Woman

In 1977, Jon Hassler introduced readers to the residents of Staggerford and sparked a decades long love affair with the small town. With The New Woman, Hassler once again proves that he’s ‘a writer good enough to restore your faith in fiction’ Richard Russo, The New York Times Book Review.

Agatha McGee, now eighty seven years old, knows she is slowing down. From the window of her new home in the Sunset Senior apartments, she can see that Staggerford has become a town with hustle and bustle that threatens to leave her behind. She s not quite resigned to a schedule of Sunset Senior s arts and crafts clas*ses but with the deaths of two close friends, a mysterious missing shoe box, her nephew Frederick s worrisome mental state, and, most surprising, a kidnapped little girl left in her care, Agatha finds plenty of excitement..

Populated with the charming crew of eccentrics and quirky characters that keep Hassler s fans clamoring for more, The New Woman follows Agatha as she discovers that friends and family are the secrets to longevity and that the essence of life lies in the details.


‘A writer good enough to restore your faith in fiction.’THE NEW YORK TIMESIt is only a week in the life of a 35 year old bachelor school teacher in a small Minnesota town. But it is an extraodinary week, filled with the poetry of living, the sweetness of expectation, and the glory of surprise that can change a life forever…
.’Absolutely smashing…
. An altogether successful work, witty, intelligent, compassionate.’THE CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER

Green Journey

‘Hassler’s characters have old fashioned values and typical human failings; they make this a novel to restore your faith in humanity.’LOS ANGELES TIMESAgatha McGee is following a dream, though it might be late in the game. She’s just retired from a career of teaching and travels to Ireland in search of the romance she never had time for. And along the way, she not only discovers people she would never have let herself know before, but learns through experience, at long last, that love is unpredictable, unstoppable, and never appears as we dream it will. From the Paperback edition.

Dear James

Agatha Magee, the feisty, quick witted, fiercely Catholic doyenne of Staggerford, Minnesota, confronts crises large and small in her 70th year. She is forced to retire from her beloved teaching, she’s crushed to learn that her Irish pen pal James is a priest, and she’s faced with the evils of the world from Irish terrorism to the petty jealousies that tear apart life in a small town. Jon Hassler explores themes of loss and spiritual renewal in this engaging novel.

The Staggerford Flood

Jon Hassler, ‘Minnesota’s most engaging cultural export,’ returns in his latest novel to the town of his first Staggerford reuniting the irrepressible Agatha McGee with characters from her past, as well as introducing her to new friends. Now in her eightieth year, Agatha McGee finds herself feeling her age, more tired and less a part of daily life in town. The new parish priest, Father Healy of North of Hope, isn’t helping matters either, as he tries to wean her off her frequent Confessions, thinking Agatha has become a bit too zealous with morality. But when a flood hits the Badbattle River, engulfing every house except hers, Staggerford needs Agatha like never before, and seven neighbors, friends, and former students seek refuge with Agatha for four days and nights. With Jon Hassler’s trademark wry wit, gentle humor, and wonderful storytelling, The Staggerford Flood delivers another view of life in small town Minnesota. Reuniting favorite Hassler characters from Staggerford, Simon’s Night, A Green Journey, North of Hope, Dear James, and The Dean’s List, The Staggerford Flood is another classic novel from one of America’s favorite writers.

The Staggerford Murders

Filled with his trademark humor and warmth, Jon Hassler’s The Staggerford Murders and The Life and Death of Nancy Clancy s Nephew offer a welcome return to the town that has captivated readers for years.

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 bittersweet The 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.

Rookery Blues

Hassler has skillfully encapsulated an entire world of humanity and emotion in one tiny town in northern Minnesota.’ San Diego Union TribuneRookery State College in the late 1960s is an academic backwater if ever there was one. Then, one frigid afternoon, the Icejam Quintet is born. With Leland Edwards on piano, Neil Novotny on clarinet, Victor Dash on drums, and Connor on bass, the group comes together with the help of its muse, the lovely Peggy Benoit, who plays saxophone and sings. But soon isolated Rookery State will be touched by the great discontent sweeping the country. News of a salary freeze electrifies the rabble rousing Victor, and the first labor union in the college’s history comes noisily to campus. As a teachers’ strike takes shape, threatening both the draft dodging students and the complacent administration, the five musicians must struggle with their loyalties to the school, the town, their families, and each other…

The Dean’s List

The New York Times Book Review called Jon Hassler’s last novel, Rookery Blues, ‘one of his finest and funniest novels.’ Now, Hassler brings back the delightful hero from that novel. He’s older, not necessarily wiser, and still fumbling with love and life amid the strange campus doings of the 1990s. Leland Edwards, a piano playing, fly fishing English professor, has become Dean of Rookery State College. And since the president of the college has been on automatic pilot for the last thirty years, it falls to Leland to save his beloved campus from diminished enrollment, hockey thuggery, and its ignoble associations with Paul Bunyan. Then his old pal from the Icejam Quartet, Peggy Benoit Connor, drops a fund raising plum in his lap. The most famous poet in America, Richard Falcon, has agreed to come to Rookery. Leland envisions thousands coming from all over the Midwest to hear Falcon’s reading an event that will put Rookery State on the literary map. But when he arrives, the poet is both more and less than what Leland expected. Their relationship leads Leland back to memories of the father he lost when he was fourteen and on a wild ride that will compel him to harbor a fugitive, stand up to his domineering mother, and finally make peace with his brief attempt at love and the tragedy that ensued. Like old friends past and present, Leland and his cronies come alive to amuse, provoke, and ultimately surprise us with their touching, complicated humanity. Once again, Jon Hassler has written a novel that shows that is he one of the most gifted authors working today.

Four Miles to Pinecone

Tom Barry’s summer starts off bad and only gets worse. He not only has to write a paper during the summer, but he sees his best friend rob a store. He doesn’t tell a soul about it, but then later in the summer, at his uncle’s resort in the Minnesota woods, Tom becomes part of something much worse. The stakes are higher and this time his life is on the line.

Simon’s Night

‘A marvel. Out of Old Age, which our peculiar times have determined to view as a sort of generational sin, Jon Hassler has drawn forth a poignant, funny, wise novel about Eternal Youth.’THE CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALERSimon Shea, a retired professor of English at a small Minnesota college, has begun to forget things and is making dangerous errors in living. Thinking he needs to be cared for more closely, he commits himself to a private rest home, and opens a world of the strange, delightful, frightening, and comic, as he attempts to recover from his mistake. From the Paperback edition.


Since her Chippewa mother is dead, seventeen year old Jemmy‘s alcoholic father has insisted that she quit school to care for her younger siblings. But on her way home on her last day of school, she gets caught in a fierce snowstorm, and is rescued by Otis and Ann Chapman, who have moved to rural Minnesota from the city. Otis is a well known painter, and he sees in Jemmy the model he needs to complete a mural of the Maiden of Eagle Rock. Jemmy soon finds that the Chapmans have rescued her in more ways than one…
and that there’s a whole world outside of her family’s dreary existence, a world she can conquer, if only she has the courage to fight…

The Love Hunter

‘John Hassler is a writer good enough to restore your faith in fiction. Unlike so many contemporary writers, he creates characters you come to care about and believe in…
. His third novel is the kind of book that makes you want to buttonhole someone and say, ‘Read this.”THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEWLarry Quinn lives in a college town in rural Minnesota. He is dying from multiple sclerosis and his best friend, Chris MacKensie, has fallen in love with Larry’s wife, Rachel. The love for the dying and passion for the living form an uneasy bond, as the three of them face the truth of life together…

Grand Opening

Twelve year old Brendan tells the story, set in 1944 45, that begins with his parents’ decision to buy a run down grocery store in a tiny Minnesota town. What they discover about small town idealism, bigotry, and good old American values will change them and the town forever…
.’A writer good enough to restore your faith in fiction.’THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEWFrom the Paperback edition.

North of Hope

‘Hassler’s brilliance has always been his ability to achieve the depth of real literature through such sure handed, no gimmicks, honest language that the result appears effortless.’THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEWAfter more than twenty years in the priesthood, Father Frank Healy is going home. But what he finds at the battered Our Lady’s Church are very few believers and Libby Girard, a woman from his past, whom he thought he’d never see again. But Libby’s life is unraveling, and as she becomes dependent on him, the lives around them erupt in a tangle of drugs and despair, alcoholism and death. Ultimately, Frank’s vocation is tested at its weakest place: his continuing love for Libby.

Keepsakes and Other Stories

From Publishers Weekly
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. Sept.


Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Rufus at the Door

ONCE UPON A TIME, before Atheneum in New York took a chance on an unknown author and published ‘Staggerford’ 1977, Jon Hassler wrote a number of short stories that introduce many of the characters in his later novels. Only a handful of these stories had appeared in print mostly in small literary magazines until Afton Historical Society Press published the best selling Rufus at the Door and KEEPSAKES.

Rufus at the Door is also available in handbound Collector Editions, limited to fifty signed and numbered copies in slipcases, priced at $175. 00.

Underground Christmas

Jon’s story is about a man named Jay who has come rather late to his midlife crisis. Nearing fifty, Jay finds himself dislocated by a divorce and by his only child’s attempted suicide. Seeking stability, he has taken a temporary teaching position at his alma mater, St. Andrew’s College. The story opens in the school’s potting shed, which in earlier days had been a root cellar.

Good People

Fans of Jon Hassler and his work will no doubt delight in these sketches of the many Good People who have accompanied him on his journey through life and warmed his heart. The varied cast of characters includes Hassler’s parents, boyhood friends, relatives, colleagues, and even the fictional characters he has created in his many years as a writer. Like his other books, Good People will be enjoyed by people of all ages and from all walks of life.

Churches of Minnesota

From the one room chapel in a prairie town to the grandiose cathedral on a city street, churches stand at the heart of the Minnesota landscape. For many, churches embody the spiritual history of their towns and neighborhoods. In Churches of Minnesota, photographer Doug Ohman and award winning writer Jon Hassler come together to honor these magnificent architectural icons and share the stories of faith that built and now sustain these sacred spaces. Through the seasons, Doug Ohman has traveled to every corner of Minnesota to document the beauty of the state’s most evocative church structures of present and past. Here Ohman showcases one hundred of his most exquisite interior and exterior shots with a colorful survey of a broad range of architecture. In the sure handed, honest language New York Times for which he is renowned, Hassler reflects on his own spirituality and his evolving faith in the church and its people. A graceful complement to Ohman s images, Hassler s remembrances chronicle how one s connection with these spiritual grounds grows and changes with the milestones of life.

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