Reading Group Guide
By Matthew Sharpe
About the book:
A group of "settlers" (more like survivors) arrive in Virginia from the ravished island of Manhattan, intending to establish an outpost, find oil, and exploit the Indians controlling thearea. But nothing goes quite as planned (one settler, for instance, keeps losing body parts). Atthe heart of the story is Pocahontas, who speaks Valley Girl, Ebonics, Old English, and Algonquin
sometimes all in the same sentence. And she pursues a heated romance withsettler Johnny Rolfe via text messaging, instant messaging, and, ultimately, telepathy.
Deadly serious and seriously funny, Matthew Sharpe’s fictional retelling of one of America’s
original myths is a history of violence, a cross-cultural love story, and a tragicomic commentary
on America’s past and present.
About the author:
is the author of the novels
The Sleeping Father
as well as the short-story collection
Stories from the Tube
. He teaches creative writingat Wesleyan University. His stories and essays have appeared in
Harper’s Magazine, Zoetrope,BOMB, McSweeney’s, American Letters & Commentary, Southwest Review,
. He lives in New York City.
This discussion guide is also available inPDF format(115 KB)1. Compare
to other postapocalyptic novels, films, or TV shows. How does Sharpeuse the conventions of this genre to tell his story, and in what ways does he depart from thoseconventions?2. How much did you know about Jamestown and Pocahontas before you read this novel? Howdid your familiarity with the basic story inform your reading of the novel, and vice versa?
Compare Sharpe’s version of the story with others—
for example, the Disney film
or the version that you were taught in history class. How does Sharpe subvert or comment onthese versions, for example in the "recruiting video" that the Manhattan Company films in
Central Park? Discuss Sidney Feingold’s musing, "A gentler
time: a constant myth since man