[EPUB] ✿ Grand Opening ❄ Jon Hassler – Horse-zine.co.uk

Grand Opening summary Grand Opening, series Grand Opening, book Grand Opening, pdf Grand Opening, Grand Opening 5906f9572f Twelve Year Old Brendan Tells The Story, Set In, 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


10 thoughts on “Grand Opening

  1. says:

    I can t improve in regard to describing Jon Hassler on the Tulsa World s review shown on the back cover of Grand Opening This is Sinclair Lewis without the deep, deep bitterness I d also contribute he s like a Midwestern Richard Russo based on my tiny sample of one Russo or Robert Inman Home Fires Burning actually shares a lot of similarities Maybe Jan Karon s Mitford series or Garrison Keillor, so I ve heard I haven t actually read either author, so what do I know Well, what I do know is that Grand Opening is another sharp winner 3.5 stars, really from this chronicler of small town Minnesota Hassler respects his characters, tints his humor with humanity and realism, not sarcasm the dramatic or tragic turns his novels sometimes take do not descend into melodrama I ve been reading Hassler in chronological order of publication this is the fifth though there s little reason for this other than to watch the growth of the recurring characters from his Staggerford novels, of which this is not one Interestingly, Hassler dips way out of time for this one I think Grand Opening is the lone Hassler book set in a far earlier time 1944, to be exact.Here, it s a year in the life of a family The Fosters husband Hank barely too old for the war , wife Catherine, 12 year old son Brendan, a grandfather losing his mental grip pull up stakes from the big city, Minneapolis, and plant themselves in small town Plum, Minn Hank has bought a ramshackle building that housed a failed grocery, hoping to make Plum a two grocery store town again with a new and improved business The Fosters find the small town a tough nut to crack They find resistance, gossip, Lutheran Catholic tugs of war the Fosters are Catholic , and the ingrained prejudices that can only come from people who know everyone in town and long ago formed opinions about them Catherine, especially, has trouble adapting It occurred to Catherine that getting acquainted in Plum was like learning your way through a zoo an odd new specimen at every turn, vertebrates like yourself but not the kind you can communicate with And Catherine says Before I state a simple fact to Gordy, I have to stop and think what church Gordy goes to and what effect it will have on our income Before I get dressed in the morning I have to think what effect my clothes will have on Mrs Brask Hassler, as usual, is adept at integrating secondary characters Wallace Flint, whom the Fosters employ at the store, is a mid 20s man not in the war because of his epilepsy though he tries to join up later , an odd man prone to jealousies and whose heart is darker than the Fosters suspect Then there s Dodger Hicks, a gangly misfit, a born thief with a troubled family life, shunned by other kids, abandoned by Brendan when he sees how unliked Dodger is Hassler really outdoes himself with Dodger, whose travails become ever central to the tale until he very nearly becomes the main character I think Hassler overplayed his hand just slightly here as Dodger takes over the tale for a little bit, but it all pays off handsomely.Hassler leavens this story with less humor than usual, but the Fosters struggle for acceptance and success is involving enough that you don t miss it.Hassler really was one of the underappreciated treasures of American writing I say was Hassler, sadly, died in March 2008 The Minneapolis Star Tribune noted that he was twice invited to the White House by a fan, Hillary Clinton Its obit goes on, He battled progressive supranuclear palsy for almost 15 years, a rare brain disorder that slowly stole his ability to write by hand, to speak or see clearly and, finally, to walk But, fueled by sheer force of will and the love and support of his wife, he devised ways to keep at it Hassler knew about small town struggles and small town hearts He loved these people, even with their failings You know with Hassler you re getting a moving, interesting slice of everyday life His novels have familiar touchstones, but he always seemed able to put a different spin on things and produce an original story each time out Among his first five novels for adults I still think Staggerford, the first, is the best , there s no feeling that you ve been there before, even if you sort of have, even if these people have sort of been inside you all along.


  2. says:

    First book I have read by this author, and I plan to read of his works I really enjoy books set in early to mid 20th century small town America, which includes this one An adolescent boy and his parents leave the big city to try their hands at running a grocery store in a small Minnesota town There are some dark turns I wasn t expecting, and I found myself thinking about the book and its characters after I was finished I use that as a determining factor of a book well read.


  3. says:

    I know I have a problem living in my own skin, in my own times I m fundamentally a nostalgic person.but oddly nostalgic for a past and place that are mine only by association and the nostalgic voice of a beloved father that was rather remotehey, I need psychoanalysis of my dilemma Realists would dismiss my inability to be of my own generation and time.a fool s quest, etc All this is a preamble to saying I am predisposed to love things Minnesotan mid western, mid century 1925 55, and small townish This novel meets those requirements In addition, I tend to concur with John Gardner s October Light, Sunlight Dialogues, etc controversial attitude towards what he called moral fiction I m not going to get into a pissing contest with people who think Gardner was a deluded crank and not hip just trying to shoot straight I can also appreciate forms of literature by authors that Gardner dismissed.Having said that, I think Gardner would ve liked this noveland so do I It rings true to life It is not just good old apple pie wholesome, nor cloying it is true enough to life to admit of darknessbut there is warmth here that is graceful and seems to have all but vanished from the American landscape.Yeahif you insist, the good ole days I can t, obviously, get there from here except through books that capture that nuance Hassler, as a product of those times and places can take me there because he is a fine craftsman, a solid author in control of his prose If you enjoyed Mariynne Robinson s incredible Gilead, you might recognize that subtle, homespun tonality in this novel They resonate with me in much the same way.


  4. says:

    A wonderful book, like so many of his others I got the sense that Jon was sharing a lot about his own life growing up in small town Minnesota during WWII.


  5. says:

    This is the first John Hassler novel I have read and I certainly hope it is not the last I have read quite a few other small town novels and I felt that this was a much darker story than many of them I liked this aspect as I think it gave the writing and the characters depth When the Foster family move to the village of Plum from the city, they encounter snobbery, spite and religious bigotry They also brighten the life of Dodger Hicks a tragic figure, needy and unloved his life blighted by a drunken mother and imprisoned father I feared for him the nearer the end I got Wallace Flint, who works in the Foster s grocery store, seems to represent almost all that is mean and bad in Plum, though he is the only member of the village who doesn t fall on either side of the religious divide he is an atheist I found this an enjoyable, well written novel, and look forward to reading by this author.


  6. says:

    What is it about Minnesota that brings forth these tales of stifling small town life S Lewis, F Sullivan, and J Hassler Lake Wobegone an exception that proves the rule Catherine Foster is a kindred spirit to Carol Kennicott Moving with her husband, son, and grandfather to small town Minnesota to run a small grocery store, she soon finds herself on the receiving end of petty gossip and nastiness Their employee Walter is such a malevolent presence and foster child Dodger is such a needy character, a sense of anxiety grows in the reader And yes, this does seem an homage to Sinclair Lewis, and, if I remember correctly, Hassler uses the names of some of Lewis s fictional towns like Gopher Prairie and Zenith in his novels as the hometowns of rival sports teams, etc.


  7. says:

    There is a scene at the end of the Clint Eastwood film Honkeytonk Man where a radio is playing in a car parked in a cemetery and the DJ announces that the next song by an up and comer, Red Stovall, promises to be a big hit and will be climbing up the charts Red literally crossed the river Styx to get to Nashville to record the title song and it is his funeral that the car is near.Jon Hassler like Red Stovall in the film is gone I came to appreciate him too late This novel was published in 1987 I bought it used for 4.95 What a writer I loved this book His style is lovingly described in Richard Russo s book on writing The Destiny Thief A writer s writer He will spoil you.Thank you Jon Hassler and thank you Richard Russo.


  8. says:

    Fast moving story that I did not want to put down Small town in Minnesota and some reference to Minneapolis as well made it feel familiar The ongoing Catholic Lutheran dissension didn t seem adequately addressed Why was there so much dislike for each other The Foster family were admirable and I kept rooting for them but the disappointments were hard to take The unresolved issue of justice regarding the arsonist seemed unbelievable Brendan wanted to do the right thing and visited Dodger in the reform prison for boys Felt so bad for the young boy Also the grandfather was delightful in how he just went with the flow Good book for book clubs with lots of interesting things to discuss.


  9. says:

    Loved almost everything about this book The small town mentality is painful to read about, but in my personal experience, sadly realistic The prejudice competition between Protestants and Catholics also reverberates as I recall religious divides in the fifties Reminds me of the book Cold Sassy Tree in the characters of young Brendan and his grandfather Growing up usually means learning some hard lessons and losing innocence and idealism All the main characters, including the adults, gain new perspectives on small town life Good read, especially at Christmas.


  10. says:

    This was a great introduction for me of a kind of powerful literature that doesn t have to be plot driven but rather focuses on the development of characters, so likable, so relatable, so damaged and so human, that they become real to the reader like following the story of a dear friend someone you are rooting for This is another one I read wayyyyyy too many years ago that deserves a second read curious to see what the forty something me will discover that the twenty something me missed.


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