Matthew Sharpe author of Jamestown

May ’07
12:00 am

Matthew Sharpe reads and signs his new book JamestownThursday May 17th 7PMwith local favorites Elizabeth Crane and Anne Elizabeth Moore reading stuff too!
Set in the indeterminate but not too distant future, Jamestown chronicles a group of “settlers” (more like survivors) from the ravaged island of Manhattan, departing just as the Chrysler Building mysteriously collapses, heading down what’s left of I-95 in an armor-plated vehicle that’s half-schoolbus, half-Millenium Falcon. They are going to establish an outpost in southern Virginia, look for oil, and exploit the Indians controlling the area.
The story is of course based on the actual accounts of the first ten years of the Jamestown settlement from 1607 to the death of Pocahontas in 1617. Set against a cataclysmic backdrop, the book features the historical characters?John Smith, Pocahontas, her father Powhatan, John Ratcliffe, John Martin, and John Rolf?but in an act of wild re-imagination, akin to Baz Luhrman’s re-interpretations of Shakespeare (the great playwright of the Jamestown era), Powhaton is half-Falstaff, half-Henry V (with a psychiatrist consigliere, Sidney Feingold); John Martin gradually loses body parts in a series of violent encounters, while John Smith is a ruthless and pragmatic redhead continually undermining the aristocratic leadership; and Rolf’s and Pocahontas’s romance is conducted by text-messaging, IM-ing, and ultimately telepathy.
Despite the grim sounding circumstances and large quantity of spilled blood, it’s a romantic book, a meditation on history and interpretation, told in language that is endlessly delightful?the jokes, the rhymes, and the rimshot dialogue throw the story’s bleak underside into brilliant relief. It’s a big book?a cross between the terrific maximalist novels of Barth and Safran Foer and the minimalist magical satire of George Saunders.
About the author: Matthew Sharpe is the author of the novels The Sleeping Father (Soft Skull, 2003, translated into nine languages) and Nothing Is Terrible (Villard, 2000) as well as the short-story collection Stories from the Tube (Villard, 1998). He teaches creative writing at Wesleyean University. His stories and essays have appeared in Harper’s, Zoetrope, BOMB, McSweeney’s, American Letters & Commentary, Southwest Review, and Teachers & Writers magazine. He lives in New York City.
Local Authors Elizabeth Crane and Anne Elizabeth Moore will also read at this event.
Elizabeth Crane is the author of the upcoming YOU MUST BE THIS HAPPY TO ENTER (coming this fall from Punk Planet Books) and two collections of short stories from Little, Brown, WHEN THE MESSENGER IS HOT and ALL THIS HEAVENLY GLORY.
Anne Elizabeth Moore is the co-editor of PUNK PLANET, the editor of the BEST AMERICAN COMICS, and the authoress of HEY KIDZ, BUY THIS BOOK and the upcoming UNMARKETABLE: BRANDALISM, COPYFIGHTING, MOCKETING, AND THE EROSION OF INTEGRITY.