Niagara Gazette

Night & Day

September 21, 2012

NCCC prof throwing 'pub crawl' to launch novel

Niagara Gazette — A Lockport man's first "revenge fantasy-comedy" novel will be launched Saturday with a public reading, walking tour and pub crawl.

Is there enough going on in that sentence for you?

Wait'll you get a hold of Music Box Dancer, Mark Pietrzykowski's new work.

The Niagara County Community College English professor steers away from poetry in his fourth published book, headlong into satire, with a tale about a put-upon soul and revenge gone wrong.

Pietrzykowski's publishing company, Pski's Porch, sent out a teasing press release this month, describing Music Box Dancer as "the story of a series of bad decisions involving ice cream trucks, al-Qaeda, bibliomania, college towns, qat, needle-nose pliers, unhappy policemen, glow-in-the-dark bocce, black swans, the Witness Protection Program, frozen pizza and the CIA (or maybe it wasn't the CIA)."

More specifically, it's a story of an alienated guy who's set on living out a revenge fantasy — and the fallout when he does.

"The main character would like to lash out, but he's not very good at it," Pietrzykowski said.

"Pski" mulled over Music Box Dancer about 3 years before he started writing it. The story puts a different spin on the revenge-as-empowerment theme, which the English teacher observes is "sadly pervasive" in contemporary fiction.

"It's a bad idea," he said. "I wanted to poke some holes in it."

First readers of the story, including Pietrzykowski's wife Ashley, other family and friends, told him they liked its combination of high drama and humor.

"There are lots of twists and turns; (the story) is surprising to people," he said. "Among those who've read it, the most common reaction is 'it was really funny — and I'm glad he didn't turn out to be a jerk in the end.'"

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