Rookery Blues

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Rookery, Minnesota, is about as far north as you can go and still be in the United States, and Rookery State College is an academic backwater if ever there was one. The campus is populated by students seeking draft deferments during the height of the Vietnam War and misfit teachers who can't get a job anywhere else. Even so, some of the faculty at Rookery State long for a meeting of the minds, the companionship of soulmates. And then, one frigid afternoon, the Icejam Quintet is born in the improbable basement ...
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Overview

Rookery, Minnesota, is about as far north as you can go and still be in the United States, and Rookery State College is an academic backwater if ever there was one. The campus is populated by students seeking draft deferments during the height of the Vietnam War and misfit teachers who can't get a job anywhere else. Even so, some of the faculty at Rookery State long for a meeting of the minds, the companionship of soulmates. And then, one frigid afternoon, the Icejam Quintet is born in the improbable basement apartment of Neil Novotny, an unkempt English instructor and obsessed novelist. With Leland Edwards on piano, Neil on clarinet, Victor Dash on drums, and Connor on bass, the group comes together with the help of its muse, the lovely Peggy Benoit, who plays saxophone and sings. The most gifted and spirited of the bunch, Peggy instills the harmony that allows the Icejammers to produce the kind of jazz they've all dreamed of playing, bringing them satisfaction they never thought they'd experience. But even isolated Rookery State will be touched by the great discontent sweeping the country. News of a salary freeze electrifies the rabble-rousing Victor, and the first labor union in history comes noisily to campus. As a teachers' strike takes shape, threatening both the draft-dodging students and the complacent administration, the five musicians must struggle with their loyalties - to the school, the town, their families, and each other....
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Set amidst the discontent of the 1960s, Hassler's comic novel looks at a group of disaffected academics in a small Minnesota town. (Sept.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345393562
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/1/1995
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 496
  • Product dimensions: 6.63 (w) x 9.55 (h) x 1.52 (d)

Meet the Author

Jon Hassler was born in Minneapolis in 1933. He received degrees from St. John's University in Minnesota, where he is now an English teacher and writer-in-residence, and from the University of North Dakota. Jon Hassler is also the author of eight other widely acclaimed novels: Staggerford, Simon's Night, The Love Hunter, A Green Journey, Grand Opening, North of Hope, Dear James, and The Dean's List.
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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2002

    Loved it!

    Totally loved this book and hated for it to end. Will be getting the sequel, Dean's List. It is set in the 60s at a small college in Minn. There are 5 displaced faculty members who bond through music. They form a band and from that point, their lives intertwine. The characters are all characters. I liked each of them.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2001

    truly awful

    This book has almost nothing to recommend it. The characters are one-dimensional (I couldn't keep track of who was who, always a bad sign), the plot nearly nonexistent, the writing plebian at best. There are some good ideas, but none are developed enough to keep the story interesting or to make you really care about the characters. Even after I had read about a third of the book and was not very happy with it, I thought that if I hung with it there would be some redeeming features. What a disappointment. I was hoping for something along the lines of Jane Smiley's Moo, a wonderful book. Oh well.

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