Matthew Sharpe, Author . Soft Skull $25 (327p) ISBN 978-1-933368-60-3

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.)

Reviewed on: 11/27/2006
Release date: 02/01/2007
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 409 pages - 978-0-15-603171-4
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