by Matthew Sirois
A forgotten shipyard at the edge of the world. Apocalyptic noise from the black-and-white television. A comet. A controversy. And a cat.
1987. Tom Beaumont is a rural boat builder looking for reason in an age of blind panic. Even the remote town of Near Haven, Maine, can’t escape the tide of violence following news of a coming, global catastrophe. Doubtful of all but his own future, Tom turns to the sea, hoping to find a meridian separating human fictions from the objective reality beyond.
"Mayhem takes place on home ground. Sirois' intriguing innovation is to keep the focus hyperlocal... his book impresses. A worthy addition to a genre pioneered by writers like Cormac McCarthy and Matt Bell: the post-human pastoral." -Kirkus Review
"Sirois’s writing about the struggles of Tom, Bradford, and others in their circle is action-filled and compelling. Occasionally, it is also heartbreaking... Sirois brings to life the devastation that results from the comet-related social upheaval and from the ceaseless, often bloody competition for fuel, food, and other dwindling resources... [in] this insightful and timely novel" -Small Press Picks
"This is a compelling book, the science believable, the plot riveting. The setting of a world in collapse before, not after, the catastrophe has occurred seems to almost create a new genre, the pre-apocalyptic rather than the post-apocalyptic novel." -San Francisco Book Review
"Tom’s confrontation with loss, meaning, and just how much we are willing to accept without proof is timely in an age when information comes and changes so quickly. Fans of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road or Alfonso Cuaron’s film Children of Men will find a kindred book in Sirois’s Near Haven, all works dealing with what it means to survive. Sirois’s novel, set against the late 1980s backdrop of northern Maine, offers Beaumont as an everyman, allowing readers to experience fear and hope alongside the man looking to the sea for salvation as the sky threatens above." -Manhattan Book Review
Matthew Sirois was born and raised in midcoast Maine. His fiction and essays have appeared in The New Guard Review, Necessary Fiction, Split Lip Magazine and The Ghost Story, among others. He attended the Richard Hugo House Master Class in Prose (Seattle, 2012) and The Writer’s Hotel Master Class in Fiction (NYC, 2015). Matthew has read for audiences in such venues as the Rendezvous, Seattle, and KGB Bar in the East Village. He lives in western Massachusetts with his wife and daughter.