The Last Studebaker

The Last Studebaker

A Novel
Robin Hemley
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 03/29/2012
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-00012-5
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In 1963, when Lois Kulwicki's father loses his job at Studebaker along with hundreds of other workers, he acts as if he has just been promoted. He buys a new car (the only non-Studebaker he's ever purchased) and takes his family on vacation. On the way home, Mom dumps Dad at a Stuckey's, and that's the last they see of him.

Thirty years later, Lois has a family of her own, as fractured as her childhood family. Divorced but still living with her ex, she decides to move out with her two daughters and start over but then a stranger named Henry enters their lives. Out of this ersatz family, Lois tries to recover something of what she lost, beginning with a search for her abandoned father. The Last Studebaker is a warmly comic tale of lives changed forever, after the last Studebaker rolled off of the assembly line.

Author Bio

Robin Hemley is Director of the Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa and author of ten books. His essays and fiction have been published in the New York Times, New York Magazine, and the Chicago Tribune.


“30 years after the manufacturing of the last Studebaker car in 1963, a broken family attempts to recreate the life they lost in this warmly comic tale of lives changed forever.”

“An amazing work—a painstaking and painful, sympathetic and exhaustive meditation upon the investment of American emotional life in things.”
 — David Shields, author of Reality Hunger: A Manifesto and The Thing About Life Is That One Day You’ll Be Dead, a Ne

“[Robin Hemley] has infused just the right amount of humor and pathos into his exploration of how people discover and maintain connections in these bewildering times.”
 — Cathy A. Coleman, New York Times Book Review

“The Last Studebaker is never gimmicky, and offers hope beyond economic and personal despair. It's not only the Studebaker, but life itself, that evokes rueful glances and missed opportunities, along with tenderness and unpredictable charm.”
 — Rachel Schteir, Washington Post Book World

“A quirky, droll road map of the human heart, with all its foibles and dangers.”
 — Publishers Weekly

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