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Literature & Fiction - United States

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Simon’s Night and “My Simon’s Night Journal”

ISBN: 9781935666530
Binding: Paperback
Author: Jon Hassler and Joe Plut
Pages: 360
Trim: 6 x 9 inches
Published: 11/5/2013

In this Jon Hassler classic, Simon Shea - a retired professor of English at a small Minnesota college - has begun to forget things and also experiences a few dangerous lapses in judgment. He commits himself to a private rest home where his encounters with other residents are variously strange comical and disquieting. A young doctor and her boyfriend enter Simon's life and attempt to persuade him that his new mode of life might be a cure worse than the disease. Reflections on his teaching career his moribund marriage his Catholicism and an unforgettable week in Ireland with a former student flesh out Simon's unusual and complex character.

The themes are more relevant today than ever before and this new edition is further enhanced by the inclusion of Hassler's own "My Simon's Night Journal " which offers insights into the author's thought processes during the novel's long gestation period.

Joe Plut edited and annotated My Simon's Night Journal.


Jon Hassler author educator playwright and painter began his writing career at the age of thirty-seven completing fifteen works of fiction and two works of nonfiction. His novels include Staggerford A Green Journey Dear James and North of Hope. Jon taught English in high school and college for forty-one years ending his academic career as Regents Professor Emeritus at Saint John's University of Minnesota. He died in 2008 after a long illness though he continued to write novels until the end.


"Nobody makes storytelling look easier than the late great Jon Hassler. Simon's Night is a lovely case in point."-- Richard Russo Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Empire Falls

"In My Simon's Night Journal Jon Hassler writes 'Most people sit on their dreams until they are flat.' The fervent message underlying his novel Simon's Night is: no age-certainly not old age-is the graveyard of dreams. Sustained dreams are both the buoyancy and the juice of life. Never has Hassler bent his considerable story-telling skills to greater effect than in illuminating this conviction in Simon's Night. With a masterly grasp of character-leavened with sly Celtic irony-Hassler has created a work of depth and humanity." -- Faith Sullivan author of The Cape Ann What a Woman Must Do and Gardenias

"More than his sly wit and characters who are achingly real Jon Hassler reminds readers what a privilege it is to be human."&ndash Lorna Landvik author of Patty Jane's House of Curl and Mayor of the Universe

"Simon Shea a retired professor of English at a small Minnesota college has begun to forget things and has negligently set fire to his kitchen. Fearing the onset of decrepitude he voluntarily commits himself to terminal residence at a private rest home. It's a serious mistake &hellip but upon Simon's error hinges one of the most delightful novels I have read in years a work of manifold virtues felicitous intelligent and very often funny &hellip Full of anecdotes rich with scenes and characters of tremendous comic vitality."&ndash Richard Bradford author of Red Sky at Morning The New York Times Book Review

"Simon's Night and its central character Simon Shea show Jon Hassler at his best with his unique gift for giving voice humanity and dignity to the characters and landscape of the Midwest."&ndash Nick Hayes University Chair in Critical Thinking Saint John's University

"What a marvelous gift from Nodin Press! Re-issuing one of Jon Hassler's finest novels Simon's Night is a gesture to be treasured."&ndash Dave Wood former Star Tribune book review editor and author of the weekly column Dave Wood's Book Report

"Simon's Night is 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."&ndash Eugenia Thornton The Cleveland Plain Dealer

"[Hassler's] characters come alive move and react become new acquaintances &hellip The world through Simon's eyes is richly humorous. This is an optimistic book &hellip A remarkably good book."&ndash Larry Batson Minneapolis Tribune