Last Rose of Summer is everyone’s story. A story that embraces anyone who ever lived in a neighborhood, or feared a bully or ever wanted to love. It is a story about the extraordinary richness of ordinary-seeming people.
On a journey to adulthood Carlos Jackson starts learning the art of living after he suddenly becomes smitten by Kamara, a young girl who visits her aunt next door. At a picnic, she places a single rose petal into Carlos’ hand and from this day on, roses follow Carlos through life until the last rose comes. Yet his enthrallment leads him into conflict with Blue Joe Davis, the neighborhood bully. And when he is left heartbroken by Kamara’s unexpected departure, Uncle Dan, an enigmatic old man from across the hall, comes to Carlos’ rescue. Unbeknownst to the neighborhood, Uncle Dan is the grandson of a Yoruba warrior and a master of Capoeira. Becoming the old man’s apprentice Carlos learns Capo-Kung, a martial arts hybrid reflecting art, beauty, harmony, patience, and integrity. Years later, Carlos and Kamara are reunited but Blue Joe also re-emerges bringing a new level of conflict.
Set largely in the historic 1960’s, the story moves with Carlos through the urban streets of Cleveland and the lives of its colorful neighborhood folks, to war-torn rice fields of Vietnam and even further to far flung regions of Timbuktu.
Sometimes you’ll be Carlos, sometimes, Kamara, and even Blue Joe perhaps. The story will surprise you. Its host of characters will delight you. It will sneak into your mind and heart. It will make you laugh and weep.
Soulfully told with spectacular clarity, Last Rose of Summer flows like music you love. American writer Muhyiddin Shakoor, in his fresh and electrically exciting novel, is inviting us to row our boats gently down the stream and see that life truly is a dream.