Synopses & Reviews
Meet Karl Floor: friendless, orphaned, melancholy, living with his loudmouth stepfather and sleepwalking through his job as a high-school math teacher. Karl returns home one day to discover his house being robbed by a beautiful stranger named Sylvia. So begins a darkly funny tale: Sylvia, aware that Karl is falling for her, draws him into her mysterious world and extracts a promise from him to protect her, though she won't say exactly from whom, or what. As he becomes more enmeshed in her life, he begins more clearly to see the shape and limits of his own.
Against the multilayered social canvas of Long Island and Brooklyn, Karl slowly and uncertainly comes to terms with the complexities of race and class, his parentage, and his own responsibilities as a man, emerging as a memorable and heartwarming antihero. Addressing heady themes with warmth and charisma, You Were Wrong is a satiric, intelligent, and deeply enjoyable novel with a singular voice.
"This book is strange, original and devastatingly clever." Mary Gaitskill
Fans of Sharpe's previous work as well as contemporary fiction authors such as Dave Eggers or David Foster Wallace should seek out this darkly comic novel." Library Journal
"A pleasing odd and intelligent novel...What's most winning about You Were Wrong is its acumen and the brio with which [Sharpe's] sentence-making bears it out. The book is rich with devastatingly comic observations about people, places, and things. You Were Wrong might not save your life, but never mind; Matthew Sharpe is saving prose from the banal, one word at a time." New York Times Book Review
"Sharpe writes prose that is mellifluous and lucid; his wise writing, with its offbeat rhythms and casual swerves, merits rank with that of George Saunders, Jim Shepard, and perhaps a (much) less bilious Sam Lipsyte. You Were Wrong is deft, lively, and surprising: a practically faultless book." Bookforum
"Part warped fairy tale, part nerd noir, part hallucinogenic misfit fiction, part sly social critique, Sharpes wicked story of class and race, love and hate, is venomously funny and whiplash smart." Booklist
"A pleasing odd and intelligent novel...What's most winning about You Were Wrong is its acumen and the brio with which [Sharpes] sentence-making bears it out. The book is rich with devastatingly comic observations about people, places, and things. You Were Wrong might not save your life, but never mind; Matthew Sharpe is saving prose from the banal, one word at a time." New York Times Book Review
"This book is strange, original, and devastatingly clever." Mary Gaitskill
"A sharply funny, almost old-fashioned social farce with the structure of a P.G. Wodehouse comedy of errors and the bitter wit of a John Kennedy Toole — this is a sweet, oddly romantic satire for the recovering cynics among us." Lydia Millet, Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Love in Infant Monkeys
It is 2008 in the suburban town of Seacrest, Long Island. Twenty-six-year-old high school math teacher Karl Floor has no parents, no friends, few prospects, is a dim bulb, and lives at home with Larchmont Jones, the aggressively loquacious widower of Karl's mother. One fine afternoon, Karl returns to his house after work to discover a beautiful stranger in the upstairs hallway. She is Sylvia Vetch, and claims to be robbing him. She also asks for his protection, but won't quite say from what or whom, and draws him into troubles she won't elucidate.
No Sherlock Holmes, Karl still slowly begins to see and engage the complex forces that have been shaping his life: his parentage and inheritance, morality and law, the racial and economic geography of present-day New York City and the world at large.
Darkly funny and original, You Were Wrong is a surreal detective story told with heart, wit, and a singular voice.
About the Author
Matthew Sharpe is the author of the novels Jamestown, The Sleeping Father and Nothing Is Terrible as well as the short-story collection Stories from the Tube. He teaches creative writing at Wesleyan University. His stories and essays have appeared in Harper's Magazine, Zoetrope, BOMB, McSweeney's, American Letters and Commentary, Southwest Review, and Teachers and Writers. He lives in New York City.