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My Staggerford Journal

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A book by Jon Hassler

This slim volume is the journal that popular author Hassler kept during 1975, when he took a sabbatical year from teaching and wrote Staggerford, his first novel of small-town life. He has since written ten more novels and in September brought out a … see full wiki

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Author: Jon Hassler
Publisher: Ballantine Books
1 review about My Staggerford Journal

For Staggerford fans only

  • Sep 3, 2000
"What is any artist but the dregs of his work?" the author William Gaddis said, and one wishes Jon Hassler had remembered that before publishing "My Staggerford Journal," the tearings from his diary he kept in 1975 when he took a sabbatical from his English professorship to write his first novel. While the book is only 100 pages long, there is very little that is of interest to anyone but fans of his work.

Those interested in the artistic process will find little here of interest. Hassler recounts the decisions underlying the writing of "Staggerford" in the fashion of a carpenter building a chair ("Coach Gibbon will talk about sports. Stella about the press box and her dentist. Imogene? Knowledge.").

The best parts of the book are things that have nothing to do with writing. He visits Emily Dickenson's home in New England, and spends three weeks in Great Britain and Ireland. He recounts a vacuous committee meeting at the community college where he taught. After a week writing alone, he goes out into the Minnesota snow seeking any kind of social connection. When he book is accepted by Atheneum, he worries that he doesn't know how to pronounce the name. But overall, the best part of Hassler is found in his novels.

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