Pizza with Jimbob & Twoforks — Ashley Lloyd Smith
Winner of the 2018 Eyelands Novel Award
If only she’d told him about her hot date with the hot waiter. She didn’t and CC (that’s Central Character) had no choice but to push his swinger wife off The Bridge — it’s only murder, right?
But, as if the guilt, the dreams and the endless puking wasn’t bad enough, CC finds himself mixed up with the Skype Psychologist (‘You murdered your wife? Had exactly the same thing with a gentleman last week.’), Controversial Kate (the world’s first Gay, Irish Republican, Cross-Dressing Comedian), Beardy (who only wants to stop people jumping from The Bridge and fails miserably), the beautiful Nail Girl, and not to mention the cool, the mysterious and very, very frightening Danny … but we said not to mention Danny.
It’s all enough to put you off your beer and cheesychips.
Transgressive, bizarre, hilarious and suffused with delirious bad taste and an utter disregard for what everyone else laughingly calls ‘reality’, Pizza with Jimbob & Twoforks is a riotous debut novel in the anti-tradition of William S. Burroughs, Hunter S. Thompson, some other guy with a middle name starting with ‘S’, Kathy Acker, Mikhail Bulgakov, and Jane Austen. Okay, probably not Jane Austen …
Debut novel by new Derby writer “PwJb&2f” arrives with a punch strong enough to warrant further attention. “ALS”, as we shall call the author in respect of his own conceit of calling his central character, “Central Character” or just “CC”, has produced a work that deserves a level of interest to levitate it above the wash of other debuts by modern British writers. This one is different, very different.
A linear structure may take the reader through the events of the story but if you are expecting straightforward sense you have come to the wrong place. Misled from the off from thinking perhaps this story is a somewhat racy affair, the tease is suddenly broken at the end of the first chapter and you hold onto your seat from there. Along the journey through a heart of darkness, it is refreshingly judgement-free, enabling a wider perspective upon events as they happen and leaves the reader not quite knowing what is to come next. Occasionally a gift of a character is a little bit thrown aside too soon, enter stage left only to quickly leave stage right an Irish Republican cross-dresser comedian, but the hold of the story always returns itself to the bridge upon which all events seem to start and end. Every bridge scene absolutely captivates, ALS uses the bridge to, well, bridge things, it is a device that grounds effectively an otherwise loose narrative.
ALS has conjured a joy ride with a not-to-be-trusted self-questioning narrator, events that spin the room for you in a way Sam Shepherd and Burroughs would have been proud of, and a senseless sense of everything else that makes one wonder just how much Becket ALS is familiar with. Too few British writers seek to take an idea and really go there, it is an American thing to be so adventurous, but it is a delight to have one of our own at last. Search this one out, set aside the few hours needed for uninterrupted coverage and strap yourself down, it is going to be a bumpy ride but a fun one that may just, may just, another tease perhaps, finish on a happy ending.
Ashle Lloyd Smith’s background is in theatre; writing, directing and acting. He is a drama graduate of Aberystwyth University and post graduate of the University of Surrey. His plays have been performed on three continents. His theatre has been banned in venues in his home town of Derby and his films on Facebook.
He has written over a hundred micro stories (seventy words or less) and performs these and his other writings around the Midlands. He has also written three children’s novels.
Ashley is also a keen walker and runner. He blogs regularly on his transition from the luvvie world of theatre to the less extrovert world of writing.
Ashley is married with one son, and lectures at the University of Derby.