Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Simon's Night” as Want to Read:
Simon's Night
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Simon's Night

3.96  ·  Rating Details  ·  430 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
"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."
Simon Shea, a retired professor of English at a small Minnesota college, has begun to forget things and is making dangerous errors in living. Thinking he needs to
Paperback, 313 pages
Published June 23rd 1997 by Ballantine Books (first published 1979)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Simon's Night, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Simon's Night

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn WaughThe Power and the Glory by Graham GreeneThe Screwtape Letters by C.S. LewisThe Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. TolkienThe Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
Catholic Fiction
383rd out of 412 books — 347 voters
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne FrankTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeCharlotte's Web by E.B. WhiteThe Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. LewisThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Books I'm Glad I Didn't Miss
142nd out of 207 books — 36 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 586)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Feb 24, 2012 John rated it really liked it
At age 76, in the year 1976, retired literature professor Simon Shea decides to leave the northern Minnesota riverside cabin where he has lived alone for years and check in to a rest home. "Simon's Night" covers almost a week in Simon's life (and a lifetime via flashbacks); it happens to be the week during which Jimmy Carter was elected president.
This novel was about me. I live in northern Minnesota. I live alone. I have not found it necessary to enter a rest home, but that could change any day
Jun 20, 2010 Kay rated it really liked it
Hassler is so good at creating characters who are real. This is one of his best in my opinion.
Joy H.
I enjoyed this story. Simon is an appealing character.

3/26/11 - Adding the following:
From the GR description:
"Simon Shea, a retired professor of English ... has begun to forget things and is making dangerous errors in living. Thinking he needs to be cared for more closely, he commits himself to a private rest home, and opens a world of the strange, delightful, frightening, and comic, as he attempts to recover from his mistake."

Jon Hassler is a wonderful wordsmith. He expresses things so well, es
Jun 29, 2015 Dave rated it it was amazing
Wonderfully written, with great compassion for the humanity of each of his characters. There are goofy moments, but also poignant ones that brought me to the edge of tears.

The novel spans only a week of real time, though a good quarter of it is spent in flashbacks to influential times in Simon Shea's life. We learn a tremendous amount the man, and how he's come to be who he is. The path, like each of ours, is not straight, nor easy, nor well-planned, nor wise, nor even internally consistent, but
Apr 08, 2012 Mmars rated it it was amazing
For me, the most memorable of Hassler's books. Loved the storyline and actions of the main character - not sure how many people would "check themselves in" as Simon did, but his reaction and outcome are definitely worth the read. Great fun, but sad as well. Hassler captures aging very well in this book. Good book.
This was an enjoyable light book about a retired professor in Minnesota, Simon Shea, who checks himself into a retirement home as he is worried he cannot cope living on his own in the hills. He soon realises that the other residents have given up on life, and his young female doctor tells him that he should escape while he still can. Over the next few days, there are a variety of incidents which would undoubtedly be hilarious on film, as well as various conversations and recollections, all of wh ...more
Linda Brough
Jun 08, 2013 Linda Brough rated it liked it
A friend recommended this book to me. She said it was a very entertaining book and I would love it. I have read other reviews of this book and they seemed to be very positive. However, it was a difficult book for me to get into. I persisted and finally finished it but it wasn't a favorite. The story is about a professor who had married later in life, but after two years his wife left him and was gone for over 30 years. He grows old and moves himself into an eclectic home for the elderly. The boo ...more
Simon Shea is a retired college professor who moves into a rest home for the elderly because he fears that he is losing his memory. He quickly realizes that he doesn't fit in at the rest home. The book covers a week in his life. Much of it is flashbacks which, while they provided good background material, seemed to drag on too long.
Jeff Messerman
Apr 20, 2014 Jeff Messerman rated it really liked it
There's only been a handful of times in my reading life where I've dreaded finishing a novel because I couldn't bear not having certain characters in my daily life.

This was one of them.

I abnormally prolonged the inevitable but today I let Simon Shea and the rest of the inhabitants of the Norman Home for the aged drift into the shadows forever. These people were never fiction to me. Simon's Night, just like Staggerford before it, is a novel that is literally ALIVE. Hassler's gift was making print
Aug 05, 2013 Catherine rated it really liked it
I have read this story twice and enjoyed it both times. This is Jon Hassler at his best. It's the tale of a retired English professor who, after becoming forgetful, moves into a retirement home to wait out the rest of his days. The place is inhabited by a group of characters, each with their own quirkiness, who are living life from meal to tv to meal to bed. As Simon tries his best to resign himself to such a life, he reminisces about the love of his life, to whom he is still married but hasn't ...more
Nancy Hansen
Jan 24, 2015 Nancy Hansen rated it really liked it
Very interesting novel. All about growing old and becoming an old fuddy duddy OR living life to the fullest till your very, very last breath.
Jan 31, 2016 Doris rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, humor
This is one of my favorite books. I've recommended it often to friends. Hilarious and touching and real.
Oct 29, 2014 Archerjoe rated it really liked it
Nicely written, memorable characters. Simon is quite likeable and handles his situations, some rather strange, with as much grace and poise as he can muster.
Aug 13, 2016 Paulette rated it it was amazing
Hassler's usual thoughtful of older folks in small town Minnesota.
Sheila Cronin
Nov 22, 2015 Sheila Cronin rated it it was amazing
My favorite of his work so far...
Jan 23, 2016 Kristel rated it liked it
Shelves: minnesota-author
Minnesota, aging
Simon Shea, a retired professor of English at a small Minnesota college, has begun to forget things & is making dangerous errors in living. Thinking he needs to be cared for more closely, he commits himself to a private rest home, & opens a world of the strange, delightful, frightening, & comic, as he attempts to recover from his mistake.
I read this quite a long time ago but I did enjoy it - I have liked all of this author's bo
This is my favorite Hassler novel and since I had just read two other Hassler books days ago, I figured might as well re-read this. I find it an inspiring story of an old professor who voluntarily goes into an old person's home, but upon meeting new friends and certain events, he's eventually convinced there's still some fight in him. My favorite line: "And short of despair, there's no alternative but hope."
Apr 17, 2013 Bob rated it it was amazing
I was laid up in the hospital with an appendectomy and a friend brought Simon's Night for my reading pleasure. And a pleasure it was. What I remember most is the integrity of Simon who took his marriage vows seriously and would not be unfaithful to them. That may have been a minor element in the story, but it stuck with me.
Jan 04, 2008 Connie rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book about the fear of ageing. It was so true and yet very funny. I can remember laughing out loud reading one scene about the nursing home where the main character was living for a time. Hassler writes so you feel you're right there in the story. This one is probably one of my favorites of his.
Mar 18, 2012 Sharon rated it liked it
It depressed me thinking of getting older. However the message in the book is that life is not over just because you are getting old. It definitely is geared to the older person who would find humor in some of the experiences that Simon goes through. I recommend it to my older friends. Just a cute book.
Amy Talluto
Aug 24, 2007 Amy Talluto rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone
This book was a fun read. It's about an English professor named Simon Shea who retires to an old folks home too early. The characters are funny and the dialogue is witty with poignant moments as well...The ending seemed a little pat for my tastes, but all in all thumbs up.
Jun 27, 2011 Tim rated it liked it
This amusing tale of a Minnesota man joining a retirement home but discovering he is not quite ready for it feels a bit slight only because it followed Jon Hassler's excellent debut, "Staggerford." Quite nice, then, but Hassler would return to bigger heights afterward.
May 21, 2008 Rae rated it it was amazing
Shelves: other-fiction
Oh, how I loved this book. I think about it whenever I feel old age creeping around the corner. Simon Shea, a retired English professor, puts himself into a private rest home and then tries to cope with the mental and social consequences. Very funny.
Jun 05, 2012 Jan rated it it was amazing
This was a re-read for me, and it did not disappoint the second time through. Hassler once again combines pathos and humor. Although it is set during election week of 1976 (the U.S. bicentennial) and reflects that era, the book is true and timeless.
Dec 26, 2009 Crystal rated it liked it
This book looks at aging and how one intelligent man faces his "declining years" a bit prematurely. He checks himself into a nursing home situation with funny, sad, and unexpected results.
Mar 28, 2009 Deena rated it liked it
Shelves: modern-lit
When I read this I really liked it. Looking back, however, I think what I really liked was the ending. This book resonated with me in ways that I wish it hadn't.
Dec 16, 2011 Susan rated it really liked it
I read books by the author many years ago. I appreciate this book, read for a book group, because of its look at aging. The characters are quirky, which I love.
Oct 20, 2011 Kiessa rated it really liked it
This book was a comforting and gentle story of remembrance, self-awareness and ideals. I will keep it on my shelf and regard it like an old friend - fondly.
Very nice and touching story of an old man who decided not to surrender to old age but to try to live with dignity and perspective. Very well written.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 19 20 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Odd Woman
  • London Holiday
  • Visitors
  • Virgin Time: In Search of the Contemplative Life
  • Civil to Strangers and Other Writings
  • Giant Bones
  • Spiderweb
  • The James Joyce Murder (A Kate Fansler Mystery #2)
  • Go Away, Dog
  • Remembrance Rock
  • The Blind Side (Ernest Lamb #1)
  • Cassie Binegar
  • Branching Out
  • Star Lake Saloon and Housekeeping Cottages: A Novel
  • The Fourth Grade Wizards
  • Crow Stone
  • Captain Grey
  • Red Earth, White Earth
Jon Hassler was born in Minneapolis, but spent his formative years in the small Minnesota towns of Staples and Plainview, where he graduated from high school. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English from St. John's University in 1955. While teaching English at three different Minnesota high schools, he received his Master of Arts degree in English from the University of North Dakota in ...more
More about Jon Hassler...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »