LITERATURE: Jamestown – Finale

Gawd, I must be the slowest reader in the literary field and close reading has only added to my time spent on a novel.

Overall, I enjoyed Matthew Sharpe’s Jamestown.  The writing in this particular book did not strike me as phenomenally lyrical or skilled, and yet the very process of writing a story from so many different voices and points of view of the major (and many minor) characters was perhaps a brilliant way of not only revealing the progress of plot, but of reinforcing the theme that mankind all too often cannot change its nature.

The ending was for me a downer.  Sarcastic hope of Pochantas’ kind is gone and yet replaced by a springing back and simple will to survive.  This is in contrast with much of the voiced feelings of the characters, such as Johnny Rolfe and Jack Smith who tell us that they don’t care much one way or another. They change–or at least, they don’t but we see their real intentions so they change for the reader.  That life goes on–unchanging–is what I brought out of this.

After reading several apocalyptic novels recently, I truly wonder what life after a disaster would become.  Unfortunately it does look like these stories are more realistic than my hopes.

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2 Responses to LITERATURE: Jamestown – Finale

  1. Ruth says:

    I just have to strongly disagree that Sharpe’s writing is not skilled or lyrical. I think he’s really a master with language.

  2. susan says:

    I think I don’t disagree with you; Sharpe is extremely knowledgeable and attentive to the forms of language and his manipulation of the variety of characters shows this. What I was referring to is more the use of elements of imagery and sentence structure overall. He indeed has portrayed the characters beautifully through their own voices and manner of speech. I didn’t mean “skilled” in that sense; it would be sort of like judging Faulkner on Benjy’s mental dialogue, which becomes brilliant because of its skill with the unlyrical and unskilled.

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