A review of
by Matthew Sharpe
Matthew Sharpe’s last novel, the surprise indie bestseller The Sleeping Father, was that rarest of literary creatures: an entirely original family novel. Now Sharpe returns with one of the smartest, funniest, bloodiest, and bawdiest novels in recent memory, a gonzo encyclopedic reimagining of the Jamestown settlement set in a postannihilation near future that opens with the Chrysler Building plunging into the earth.
Manhattan and Brooklyn are at war, a not entirely improbable turn of events as any denizen of either borough knows. Day and night, assassins dart across the Williamsburg, Manhattan, and Brooklyn bridges, zigzagging snipers’ bullets. Food and fuel and guns are scarce. To restock his war machine, the chief executive officer of the Manhattan Company, Jimmy Stuart, dispatches an armored bus carrying a band of business executives, half of them early release convicts, south on what’s left of I-95 to set up a Virginia branch of the Manhattan Company. Onboard the “Autobus Godspeed” all types of hilarity and degeneracy occur, much of it involving knives. “Some great, quaint pre-annihilation philosopher described the movement of history as thesis, antithesis, synthesis,” says our first but by no means last narrator, Manhattan Co.’s “communications specialist,” Johnny Rolfe, “whereas I’ve seen a lot more thesis, antithesis, steak knife, bread knife.”
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