I was honored to work a bit with Mr. Hassler a few years ago, as Loyola Press prepared to bring North of Hope back into print as part of the Loyola Classics series. (I ended up writing the introduction.) It’s an absorbing, big book that may be, on its most obvious level, about a priest, but is more deeply about decisions, regret, redemption and living life at peace in the midst of that reality – life is not what we thought it would be when we were young. But perhaps, miraculously, it is better, even through the pain, than anything our limited vision could have imagined for ourselves.
From my introduction to North of Hope:
”¦into this reality ”” sometimes a very cold and ugly reality, because that is the way life can be ”” warmth creeps, slowly. All of the characters in North of Hope face crises, small and great. The real drama, slower, absorbing, and deep, lies in the process of these same characters emerging from the crises that have shaken them, and accepting that the past cannot be changed. You are where you are, and right now, another choice presents itself. You can drown in regret and self-loathing or you can reconnect with life, with hope ”” with God.