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Dust Jacket Information

Dustjacket Text from RUFUS AT THE DOOR & Other Stories by Jon Hassler


ONCE UPON A TIME, before Atheneum in New York took a chance on an unknown author and published Staggerford (1977), Jon Hassler wrote twenty-some short stories. He remembers exactly the day he began writing. It was September 1, 1970. He was thirty-seven years old and a teacher at Brainerd Community College in central Minnesota. "I finished teaching my nine o'clock freshman English class and went to the library. I took out a notebook and pen, and began [my first] story."

Only a handful of these early stories ever made it into print (mostly in small literary magazines), and Jon stored them away "in an old wooden filing cabinet I bought for $25 at a now-defunct department store in Brainerd."

That cabinet later accompanied Jon to Collegeville, Minnesota, where he was writer-in-residence at St. Johnís University for seventeen years, and to his current home in Minneapolis.

In 1999 the Afton Historical Society Press published seven of these stories in KEEPSAKES & Other Stories to overwhelming public response. This companion volume, RUFUS AT THE DOOR & Other Stories, brings to print seven more, beginning with the heart-wrenching tale of a good-natured, slow-witted man of about thirty-five named Rufus. Many of the characters in Jon's stories, including Rufus, are based on people he has known. Youíll find out which ones in the Publisherís Note preceding the stories.

SIX YEARS AGO, Jon Hassler was diagnosed with Parkinsonís disease. In a holiday letter to Jon's friends in 1999, his best-known character, Agatha McGee, wrote that the novelistís dreadful companion, Dr. Parkinson, "has begun to behave in cruel and irritating ways." This moving letter from Agatha appears at the end of this book as a postscript to Jonís stories.

For More Information, go to the Links page and click on Afton Press.

 

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Last modified: March 04, 2002