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This Side of Jordan Hardcover – October 20, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
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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)
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Top Customer Reviews
Alvin Pendergast is a little twerp. Okay, he's got tuberculosis; I guess we're supposed to feel sorry for him, but as a reader privy to his thoughts and observing his actions, I did not like him at all. He's stupid, ignorant, mindlessly belligerent ... he doesn't want people to think of him as a hick, but the truth is he's the biggest hick in the entire book. He failed to earn my respect and he clearly did not deserve my sympathy.
Rascal the dwarf is the most appealing character but he comes across more like a cartoon than a person. He's a witty, eccentric raconteur, constantly telling tall tales (which might or might not be true) and he bears adversity with a certain aplomb. Constantly cheerful and blessed with the gift of gab, he never meets a stranger. Rascal is able to be at ease and find something to appreciate in every situation - especially when Alvin sees nothing worthwhile in it.
Chester the sociopath is more of a prop than a character. He's just "evil" and that's all we know about him. He appears in the story to perform atrocious acts and is absent the rest of the time.
About 2/3 of the way through the book, in Icara, Illinois, a Peanuts character makes a subtle cameo appearance. You'll know it when you see it.Read more ›
Sounds like quite an adventure--and sometimes it can be. There are some moments within the crime spree that evoke memories of "Bonnie and Clyde" and/or "Badlands." But far from a propulsive plot driven narrative, Monte Schulz has achieved something deeper and richer than you might anticipate. With descriptive prose echoing some of the Southern greats, "This Side of Jordan" plays almost like a series of essays. Each segment of the book has its own voice with its own characters and plot. It is these individual tales, which range from hilarious to heartbreaking, that weave together a remarkable and fateful journey.
Schulz has really captured the feel of a time and place with spot-on characterizations and locales. I particularly liked the ambivalence and truthfulness within the oddball leads on this road trip. Alvin is no hero. Initially, you root for him to break free of his illness and the confines of his dreary life--but soon, you come to realize that he's not a particularly likable character. The dwarf, verbose and show-offy, is an obvious source of ridicule for Alvin.Read more ›
I think that my inability to fully appreciate this book may be more a matter of taste than any deficiencies on the author's part. The synopsis of the book drew me in but was unable to sustain my interest. But I do believe that fans of this genre will love it for its ability to elegantly capture a by gone era with amazing accuracy.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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