by Scott Smith
When I was an undergrad, abusing my writing teacher (Richard Russo) with a depressing 28pg short story with verb tense shifts that made him weep, he said I needed to warm up. Go read some Hassler.
I suggest Staggerford or Grand Opening. I enjoyed his My Staggerford Journal as well.
Here’s an excerpt from an excellent article on Hassler.
Critics sometimes compared Hassler to John Cheever and Evelyn Waugh.
Novelist Richard Russo, in writing about Hassler’s “North of Hope”
(1996), said Hassler’s “brilliance has always been his ability to
achieve the depth of real literature through such sure-handed,
no-gimmicks honest language that the results appear effortless.”