Shortlisted finalist in the 2013 NaNoWriWee 30-hour novel competition sponsored by
HarperCollinsUK and The Kernel, Tokyo Pizza is a surreal ride mixing satire with pulp adventure.
Five college students on an exchange program in Tokyo in the early 90s find themselves involved in a devious plot to blackmail one of their number. As they learn more about their situation, they discover their opponents are both powerful and distant, with the exception of the urbane and sadistic yakuza boss who is the chief architect of their misery.
To stop him, the ragtag group will have to graduate from theory to practice a little earlier than they might have liked.
The novella is a strange but very fun thing that took on a life of its own. I’m actually quite proud of it. Even before editing it had managed to claw its way into the shortlisted finalists, and now that it’s been polished I think it’s one of my favorites.
It’s a departure for me. It does have the offbeat characters I like, but it depends more on satire, humor and things blowing up than I usually gravitate to while writing. I admit to being a literary nerd; I like my characters to suffer through long arcs that change them at some molecular level, and usually prefer a clear, sparse, Hemingway-like prose style. This was more like I briefly channeled Alan Ginsberg while watching an A-team marathon.
I want to extend thanks to HarperCollins for picking up the reins when, stunningly, The Kernel closed up shop mid-contest. That could have been far worse than it was.
So, get a six-pack and a TV dinner, put the kids to bed, and try some Tokyo Pizza.
Don't miss the serialized sequel, starting this May: Side Effects.