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Jamestown : a novel

by Sharpe, Matthew, 1962-

Format: Print Book 2007
Availability: Available at 2 Libraries 2 of 2 copies
Available (2)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library First Floor - Fiction Stacks FICTION Sharpe,
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  First Floor - Fiction Stacks
Call Number  FICTION Sharpe,
Penn Hills Library Fiction SHA
Location  Penn Hills Library
Collection  Fiction
Call Number  SHA
Jamestown chronicles a group of "settlers" (more like survivors) from the ravaged island of Manhattan, departing just as the Chrysler Building has mysteriously plummeted to the earth. This ragged band is heading down what's left of I-95 in a half-school bus, half-Millennium Falcon. Their goal is to establish an outpost in southern Virginia, find oil, and exploit the Indians controlling the area. Based on actual accounts of the Jamestown settlement from 1607 to 1617, Jamestown features historical characters including John Smith, Pocahontas, and others enacting an imaginative re-version of life in the pioneer colony. In this retelling, Pocahontas's father Powhatan is half-Falstaff, half-Henry V, while his consigliere is a psychiatrist named Sidney Feingold. John Martin gradually loses body parts in a series of violent encounters, and John Smith is a ruthless and pragmatic redhead continually undermining the aristocratic leadership. Communication isby text-messaging, IMing, and, ultimately, telepathy. Punctuated by jokes, rhymes, "rim shot" dialogue, and bloody black-comic tableaux, Jamestown is a trenchant commentary on America's past and present that confirms Matthew Sharpe's status as a major talent in contemporary fiction.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Known for his over-the-top tragicomic farces, Sharpe roguishly marks the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown in a dialogue-rich hybrid of vandalized historical fiction and slapdash futuristic gloom. A busload of murderous yet oddly endearing lunkheads flee New York City as the Chrysler Building crashes to earth. They head to Virginia, hell-bent on setting up a new settlement and swindling the Indians out of food and oil. All the true-life Jamestown Johns are present: Smith, Martin, Ratcliffe, and Rolf, the expedition's communications specialist. Curiously, both morose Rolf and whip-smart Pocahontas are confiding their thoughts to wireless electronic devices and, therefore, serve as dueling narrators as Sharpe riffs outrageously on the oft-told tale of Pocahontas and the starving settlers, devilishly eviscerating our sense of the nation's genesis. Mixing slacker humor with ham-fisted vulgarity and precision-aimed barbs, Sharpe, an heir to John Barth and kin to David Foster Wallace and George Saunders, creates a caustic mix of old and new that proves the adage that as much as things change, they remain the same. --Donna Seaman Copyright 2007 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "A wonderfully warped piece of American deadpan, Sharpe's retelling of the Jamestown settlement has the settlers arriving in the Virginia swamp on a bus from Manhattan. There are numerous hints that civilization has taken some devastating hit, leaving Manhattan without oil or untainted food and engaged in a long war with Brooklyn. Hence, the venture into the wilds of the Southern states. The settlers are led by John Ratliff, whose mother's boyfriend is the CEO of Manhattan Company. The Indians, who speak English (a fact they try to dissemble), owe their "reddish" hue to their use of sunblock SPF 90. They're led by Powhatan and advised by Sidney Feingold-and they lack guns. The story follows the traditional romantic arc, as Powhatan's daughter, Pocahontas, falls in love with one of the settlers, the lank, sallow, greasy-haired communications officer, Johnny Rolfe, and saves the life of another, Jack Smith. The narrative alternates first-person accounts, allowing Sharpe (The Sleeping Father) to weave his preternatural sense of parody into an increasingly dire story of killings and kidnappings. The chapters narrated by Pocahontas are virtuoso exercises in language, as MySpace lingo metamorphoses into Jacobin rhetoric, blackface dialect and back again. This is a tour-de-force of black humor. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Smith, John, -- 1580-1631 -- Fiction.
Pocahontas, -- -1617 -- Fiction.
Powhatan, -- approximately 1550-1618 -- Fiction.
Rolfe, John, -- 1585-1622 -- Fiction.
Colonists -- Fiction.
Powhatan Indians -- Fiction.
Jamestown (Va.) -- Fiction.
Publisher Brooklyn : [Berkeley, Calif.?] :Soft Skull Press ;2007
Distributed by Publishers Group West,
Language English
Description 327 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 325-326).
ISBN 9781933368603 (alk. paper)
1933368608 (alk. paper)
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