"Monte Schulz's novel This Side of Jordan shows that Like Father Like Son -both superb!"- RAY BRADBURY
"Schulz proves himself to be a handy wordsmith in this literarily 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, Sept. 2009
"I just finished reading a review copy, and I think this is a truly great American novel. Certainly I have not read anything by a modern American (white male) that I have so thoroughly enjoyed in my 13+ years at Tsunami Books. I won't go into the tale; suffice to say those who read this book will bear witness to the beginnings of a great new (American) voice that upholds the power of innocence in a long, dark era."- SCOTT LANDFIELD, TSUNAMI BOOKS
ABOUT THIS SIDE OF JORDAN:
In the idyllic last American summer before the great stock market crash of '29, nineteen year-old farm boy Alvin Pendergast somehow decides he can escape a fatal relapse of tuberculosis by accepting the offer of a job across the Mississippi River from a slick-talking stranger who seems everything poor Alvin is not: smart, sharply-dressed, well-acquainted, and without a worry in the world. But beneath appearances Chester Burke is also a gangster and a sociopathic killer. On their traveling road through the small towns of the Midwest, Alvin quickly discovers how ignorant he is of life beyond the farm.
Fortunately, he finds another companion for this harrowing journey, a curious and clever dwarf whose own pathetic life has offered little resistance to fate, until the circumstances of Chester's cruel itinerary forces both him and Alvin to seek another path, if they hope to survive.
This Side Of Jordan is a story of another America, eighty years distant yet familiar, too, a vibrant and scandalous tapestry of eccentric characters from a nation embroiled in criminal liquor traffic, thrilled by Jazz Age fads and frolic, drunk amid the glittering showgrounds of a booming circus whose flag-topped tents are about to come down. Through mayhem and merriment, past the violence and hypocrisy of Prohibition, along miles of dirt roads and busy Main Streets, we see in this wonderfully evocative narrative a simple yearning for love and hope. This Side Of Jordan is about the distance we travel in America to find our rightful place.
This Side of Jordan is Monte Schulz's second novel. His first, Down by the River, was published by Viking in 1991. Library Journal raved that it compared to Stand by Me and Twin Peaks, and seemed "ready-made for Hollywood." He spent ten years writing Crossing Eden, from which This Side of Jordan is drawn as the first of three interconnected novels; the second and third, Fields of Eden and The Big Town, will be published in 2010 and 2011.
Monte Schulz received his M.A. in American Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara. He lives in Northern California. He is the eldest son of Charles M. Schulz (PEANUTS).
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