Rufus at the Door & Other Stories
by Jon Hassler
Wood Engravings by Gaylord Schanilec
Dimensions: 10″ x 7.25″, 128 pages
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 10, 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. John’s University for seventeen years, and to his current home in Minneapolis.
In 1999, the Afton 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 real people he has known. You’ll find out which ones in the Publisher’s Note preceding the stories.
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