Media Release — The Cartoon Art Museum proudly welcomes author Monte Schulz on Thursday, June 2, 2011 from 7:00-9:00pm. Monte Schulz, the son of Charles M. Schulz, will talk about his father, Peanuts, growing up with Sparky and how his father has influenced his own writing career. Following this special presentation, Monte will sign copies of his latest novel, The Last Rose of Summer, published by Fantagraphics Books. This event is free and open to the public.
About The Last Rose of Summer:
“Beautifully written and thoroughly researched, a veritable time-machine that whirled me through time to the dirty back roads of the American midwest in the year before the Depression. … Did I mention how good the writing is? The writing is excellent… a masterpiece of setting and storytelling…” – Cory Doctorow, BOINGBOING
With the Great Depression looming and about to define America’s next decade, three strong-minded women related by marriage form an uneasy household in the summer of 1929. Forced by her husband Harry to uproot their two small children from Illinois and take up residence in East Texas, Marie Hennesey struggles to find a place not only within her mother-in-law’s home but in a Southern town whose troubling unfamiliarities compound her marital woes and homesickness.
Maude Hennesey has little patience for Marie and her children, and even less for her own pretty but petulant daughter, Rachel, who fights and flirts with a dashing pilot from New Orleans. Colliding issues of faith and sexual mores, racial proprieties and class distinctions, fuel a constant bickering through the narrow corridors of the house, all three women heedless of the love that has brought them together. Maude seems cold and distant except toward the ladies of her club; Rachel’s affection for her doting aviator rises and falls capriciously; and Marie seeks to understand an absent husband, while deciding how to receive her employer’s slow seduction.
As summer wears on, the conflicts among these women are exacerbated by a child murder that sends shockwaves of fear and mistrust throughout the community, particularly between the town’s white residents and a black shantytown across the river. An ever-increasing sense of dread culminates in the arrival of a terrible storm whose aftermath reveals poignant and unexpected truths about these three women living at a time when America was poised on the brink of economic catastrophe.
In The Last Rose of Summer, Monte Schulz has created a story about three women and their interior and exterior lives, each of whom symbolize quintessential American notions of family, love and community. In so doing, he reminds us all where we come from and how we got here. With an elegiac voice that evokes an era in its final bloom, and a thoughtful rendering of the public and private contentions that ruled the day, The Last Rose of Summer becomes an instant American classic.
Monte Schulz published his first novel, Down By The River, in 1990, and spent the next twelve years writing a tapestry of the Jazz Age, of which The Last Rose of Summer and 2009’s This Side of Jordan are two of three parts. He received his M.A. in American Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara, where he continues to reside. He is the eldest son of Charles M. Schulz (Peanuts).