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The Staggerford Flood Paperback – October 28, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Plume (October 28, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452284627
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452284623
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,669,416 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A natural disaster threatens the unique rural charm of Hassler's Minnesota village in the latest installment in his ongoing series, which maintains much of its entertainment value despite his decision to bring back a secondary character from an earlier volume as his fussy, pedantic protagonist. Agatha McGee is the 80-year-old sixth-grade teacher who is beginning to dread the onset of old age, so much so that a local radio personality suggests that she hold her own memorial party in advance to try to get a lift from the tribute. What invigorates Agatha instead is the threat of a flood, which distracts her from her preoccupation with local gossip and causes her to offer shelter to several troubled residents, including a combative mother and daughter as well as several friends and acquaintances. Her immediate neighbors quickly evacuate when the water rises to record levels, but the disaster brings out Agatha's stubbornness as she insists on staying in her hilltop house with her erratic guests, turning the disaster into a smalltown version of an adult slumber party. Hassler's compassion for his characters remains resolute as he describes their hidden passions and concerns, although a subplot in which Agatha encourages a struggling older woman to assume her dead sister's identity is muddled and ineffective. The popularity of Hassler's series is due to his skill in depicting, with warmth and insight, the quaint shades and nuances of rural life. While this book isn't quite up to the level of some of his earlier efforts, it represents a solid start in his first novel from Viking.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Jon Hassler is the author of twelve novels, two short story collections, a volume of novellas, and two works of nonfiction. He is Regent’s Professor Emeritus at St. John’s University in Minnesota.

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Customer Reviews

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It takes THE STAGGERFORD FLOOD literally rising around her to make Agatha shake off her gloominess and realize she's still loved and needed.
Bookreporter
The characters are believable, the dialogue is pitch perfect, and the community dynamics show Hassler's sensitivity to and love for the subtleties of small town life.
Mary Whipple
The characters are not as well developed, and the plot (7 or so local residents are holed up in the protagonist's house during a flood) did not hold my interest.
fish-mich

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By L. SCEARCY on November 28, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have read all of Jon Hassler's novels. He has the rare ability to write a good story about people you come to care about. In this novel he brings back many of the characters who were so prominent in his other novels - almost like a reunion of characters. For long time readers of his novels this is a visit back home to see how the family is getting along. For new readers of his work, I would suggest that you begin with his earlier work and build to this one. Specifically start with Staggerford, Simon's Night, A Green Journey and Dear James. Rookery Blues would also be a prerequisite to this novel. You won't be disappointed. I grew up and still live in the area that Mr. Hassler writes about. He was also my poetry teacher in my first year in college at Brainerd Junior College. For those of you who like to read about central Minnesota this is the real Lake Wobegone. Jon Hassler describes real people - don't miss out.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Luan Gaines HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 8, 2003
Format: Paperback
At a time when neighbors are barely acquainted, Hassler offers a welcome distraction, a visit to a place where America is known for its small towns with friendly people, where the postman greets everyone on his route. The Staggerford Flood is author Jon Hassler's intimate novel of small town life, in Staggerford, Minnesota, where everyone's business is discussed by folks who have known each other all their lives. Staggerford has the aura of turn-of the-century America, long before extended families began their exodus to crowded cities, where distance is an obstacle to communication.
Most of the characters in this novel are familiar faces, returning from previous tales, updating their stories. The most endearing character is Miss Agatha McGhee, a former schoolteacher and octogenarian and the resident wise woman. Agatha hasn't gotten out much the last few months, slightly under the weather, but when she sees her name in the headlines of the local newspaper, she is incensed that anyone would announce her business without consulting her. The newspaper article gets Agatha's dander up and she is on the move, fueled by a need to set the record straight. While in town, Agatha learns that the recent rain threatens to flood, that the Badbattle River will inundate all of Staggerford, as well as the neighboring towns.
Immediately concerned with those neighbors who may not have shelter when their homes flood or are unable to reach the safety of higher ground, Agatha prepares for the worst, gathering blankets and canned goods to accommodate at least two guests. When the number of stranded women increases drastically, Agatha is hard-pressed to accommodate everyone comfortably.
Agatha has gathered an odd assortment of eccentrics under her roof.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on October 30, 2002
Format: Hardcover
No matter where you come from, Hassler's Staggerford feels like home, and his characters like the old friends (and nemeses) you probably grew up with. With an unerring eye for the universally mundane, and an ear for the commonplaces we all expect in conversations with old friends, Hassler brings Staggerford, Minnesota, to life during the "flood of the century," as the Badbattle River overflows and inundates the town one spring.
There's nothing like a good emergency to inspire Agatha McGee, the 80-year-old spinster who taught most of Staggerford at St. Isidore's School. Ignoring ill health, she takes charge among her neighbors and friends, inviting seven unlikely people to ride out the storm in her house on the highest land along the river. With warmth and great good humor, Hassler recreates their long-standing friendships and loyalties, along with the gossip, resentments, and long memories which make life in any small town a community activity.
For Hassler's long-time readers, this novel is like a reunion--everyone in the old gang, from all the previous novels, is here, older, perhaps, but still going strong. Beverly Bingham, the sad teenager who found refuge with Agatha in Hassler's first novel (Staggerford) returns as the mature mother of a schizophrenic son. Lolly Edwards, the radio gossip who held her own memorial service so that she could hear what people would say about her (The Dean's List) and her son, Leland, now President of Rookery State (Rookery Blues), are back, along with Fr. Frank Healy (North of Hope). Agatha's shy nephew Frank Lopat; her best friend, ditzy Lillian Kite, and her termagant daughter, Imogene; and Janet Raft Meers, the young woman who looks after her; and many others, continue their stories here, along with several new characters.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By fish-mich on May 10, 2004
Format: Paperback
I was really looking forward to reading this book. I must sadly write, Staggerford Flood is not one of my favorite Jon Hassler novels. I'm a big Hassler fan; I've have read most of his books, but I feel this latest offering pales next to others. The characters are not as well developed, and the plot (7 or so local residents are holed up in the protagonist's house during a flood) did not hold my interest. The flood and its physical consequences are not described with much detail. The book focuses more on the flood's psychological influence on the characters. If you plan to read this book, I would suggest reading 'Staggerford' first. Not only is Staggerford a superior read, but it will also help you to better identify with the characters of `Flood.'
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