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The author of Down by the River and son of Peanuts creator Charles Schulz returns with the first in a planned series of three novels that attempts to delve into the American psyche during the Jazz Age, starting in the pivotal year of 1929. Schultz has done copious research about the period for this tale of Alvin Pendergast, an Illinois farm boy who survives tuberculosis. After a local dance marathon, Alvin becomes the easy prey of con man Chester Burke, who persuades him to come along on travels and capers that will take them on the road and up against manifold dangers. Unfortunately, the story is so weighed down by patched-together country and old-time vernacular, long stretches of aimless dialogue and detail and background data about irrelevant characters that the story never takes off. Does it mean to be a tall tale, historical novel, road caper, fantasia, cornpone satire, crime thriller or some combination? Random and unconvincing in every way, it's obvious that when Fantagraphics asks, how does the publisher of The Complete Peanuts reject a novel by Charles Schulz's son? the answer is, sadly, they could not. (Sept.)
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Schulz proves himself to be a handy wordsmith in this literally ambitious novel of pre-Depression America. Hand this straight-faced and multifaceted almost-satire to fans of the southern gothic tradition, all the way from Flannery O’Connor to John Kennedy Toole. (Booklist)
Monte Schulz proves that his father was not the only talented storyteller in the family.... Monte has carved out his own stake with This Side of Jordan, the first novel of a planned trilogy.... Even though there are moments of brutal violence in the vein of Cormac McCarthy, Jordan is more about the young man facing his future with uncertain terms.... You’ll find yourself enraptured by his style, fittingly written in honor of his father. (Bruce Grossman - Bookgasm)
Did I mention how good the writing is? The writing is excellent... The setting is so vivid I felt like I could fall into the book and lose myself there, landing on some dusty road in a tourist camp where the hicks waited to be fleeced or killed by Chester. (Cory Doctorow - Boing Boing)
Monte Schulz has proven that his father isn’t the only Schulz with considerable storytelling talent. … Schulz manages to capture a moment in history, a piece of humanity in transition. It’s bleak, but funny, and smartly written. …[R]eaders of good fiction should appreciate what Schulz has accomplished. (Michael C. Lorah - Newsarama)
This is a "Wizard of Oz" story with the underlying theme: There's no place like home. For Alvin, life on the farm was a "drudgery of frost and manure. Read morePublished on March 1, 2013 by Marianne Dougherty
As a Southerner through and through and a long-time admirer of the gentle wisdom of his father;s cartoons, I eagerly anticiated reading this book. Read morePublished on December 22, 2011 by J. B Kraft
Monte Schulz here presents us with a novel that is long on narrative prose but short on substance. It follows the story of a farm boy who has spent the last year of his life in a... Read morePublished on October 18, 2011 by Green Level Clearance
There's a lot of love in this book; Schultz's obvious fascination with the era blazes through with fine writing and beautiful images. Read morePublished on May 6, 2010 by K. L. Cotugno
A beautiful, Kafkaesque tour into the pit of absurdity--Monte Schulz has a definite talent and future for writing novels reminiscent of Ishiguro's "The Unconsoled". Read morePublished on April 30, 2010 by J from NY
This is definitely a book for people who enjoy a highly literary style dripping with morally corrupt characters and a languid story telling pace. Read morePublished on April 7, 2010 by John T. Horner
Twelve years after the publication of his first novel, "Down by the River," Monte Schulz makes his return with his second, "This Side of Jordan," the first volume of a trilogy... Read morePublished on February 1, 2010 by James D. Miller
After 18 years off of the writing scene, Schulz has demonstrated that his time was NOT spent refining his writing style! Read morePublished on January 23, 2010 by Rogue Reader
I'm interested in the 1920s and 1930s, and was excited to receive this book. The author has done an excellent job researching the period. Read morePublished on January 21, 2010 by Gone2lunch