Grand Opening

Jon Hassler, Author William Morrow & Company $17.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-688-06649-9
As if retrieved from a time capsule, Hassler's fifth novel faithfully evokes a dark vision of Midwestern small-town life in 1944. The Foster familyCatherine, Hank, their 12-year-old son, Brendan, and Catherine's elderly fatherare urging a 1928 De Soto toward the town of Plum, Minn., and a time-honored American Dream: ownership of a business (they have purchased a dilapidated grocery store), a home and a sense of belonging. But Plum turns out to be a lemon; sour in spirit, pitted with religious bias and general mistrust. Hank's store is patronized only by Catholics like himself; the Lutheran trade is taken by a Lutheran competitor. When Catherine attempts to comfort an employee who's having an epileptic seizure, rumors circulate that they are having an affair. Even Brendan is forced into a quest for moral certainties when he befriends the town's pariah. Though much of this book may be overly familiar to older readers, it may edify younger ones of late exposed to quantities of literature extolling those not-so-good old days. (May 29)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1987
Release date: 05/01/1987
Mass Market Paperbound - 326 pages - 978-0-345-35016-9
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