Matthew Byrne, author of:

Porsches into Plowshares
A Novel about Money, Meaning, and One Man's Mythical Journey and/or Mission from God

SYNOPSIS: Pete Fisher -- 30-year-old Philosophy/Religious-Studies grad student nicknamed "Head" because he thinks too much -- drives straight from his best friend's funeral in Los Angeles to Death Valley.  After two days of fasting, he leaves his abandoned gold mine and begins his quest to the gold mines of the pre-dotbomb Silicon Valley.  After three months of diligent work as an undercover Gold Digger for Charity, he discovers that he's going to be a father.  The mother?  A real gold digger who mistakenly thinks that Pete's rich.  The fetus?  A smart-ass, Down-Syndrome little dude who sends Pete up a real-life shit's creek with only a theoretical paddle.

I parked Mr. Soul on the street and walked up the driveway past Cracker's new Porsche.  I tried to think happy thoughts, but the words "sell out" popped into my mind nonetheless.  Just five years ago, he was living happily on less than five-hundred dollars a month with a skateboard as his only means of transportation.  And now he had to have a Porsche.  I pictured the inevitable "Wow, you got a new Porsche" conversation that I'd have with Cracker when we first stood next to it.  Cracker would stand there, like a proud father, trying to hold back a grin, as he looked at me and waited for my reaction.  If I didn't roar my approval and slap him a high five, he'd start to suspect the truth, that his friend -- a thirty-year-old graduate student still driving his college Datsun B210 and studying something like Cultural Anthropology of Religious and Philosophical Cavemen -- was anti-Porsche.  And since saying nothing to your friend about a new convertible Porsche sitting in his driveway wasn't a realistic option, I'd end up saying something like "The Dude got a new Porsche" which would be, technically speaking, neutral, but which would be interpretted by Cracker as a ringing endorsement, an enthusiastic affirmation, of his choice to spend sixty-thousand dollars on a status symbol for himself while poor little hare-lipped kids hid inside their mud huts crying their eys out and praying that nobody would ever look at them again.  Cracker would then respond with something like "I always wanted one" as if he knew, deep down, in his heart of hearts, that he had abandoned the poor little, hare-lipped kids and felt the need to at least go through the motions of defending his choice.  His "I always wanted one"  would, of course, be followed by my "Good for you"  which meant: "While I'm fully aware of the inadequacy of your excuse for abandoning those poor-little, hare-lipped kids, I also know, deep down, in my heart of hearts, that I too have made the same choice, and so, let us humbly stumble past this awkward little moment of truth so we can get to the part where I sit in the leather driver's seat and crank up the killer stereo."

As of now, this novel is without an agent and a publisher.  Still, the critics are raving.  Here's what one unnamed (but very famous) book reviewer said after getting his hands on a copy of the manuscript: "More compelling characters than A Complete Idiot's Guide to Gold-Digging-for-Charity, more of a page-turner than Gold-Digging-for-Charity for Dummies and almost as uplifting as Chicken Soup for the Soul of the Gold-Digger-for-Charity.  I'd recommend it to all of my dumb-idiot, chicken-soup-eating friends."
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