Reviews for Highly Unlikely Scenario or a Neetsa Pizza Employee's Guide to Saving the World


Booklist Reviews 2014 January #1
Global fast-food franchises rule the world, spawning contentious sects. Leonard, for instance, the hapless hero in first-time novelist Cantor's rambunctiously smart, pun-spiked, and sweet dystopian romantic comedy, works for Neetsa Pizza fielding customer complaints and is, therefore, a Pythagorean. His sister, Carol, serves Scottish tapas at Jack-'o-Bites, which means she should be a Jacobite. Instead, she's a neo-Maoist, always slipping off to "book club," code for various revolutionary actions, leaving her gifted son, Felix, with doting Leonard. But once Leonard finds himself on the phone with Marco Polo, time, space, and the status quo begin to seriously warp. Soon Leonard, Felix, and Sally, a fetching "Book Guide" at the university library, are sent on an urgent, cosmic quest back to Marco's era, a mission involving two other thirteenth-century renegades, the English philosopher Roger Bacon and the prophetic Kabbalist Abraham Abulafia. Glimmering with "signs and wonders" and laced with satirical jabs at technological intrusiveness and deception, Cantor's funny and charming metaphysical adventure and love story is a wily inquiry into questions of perception, knowledge, mystery, legacy, and love. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

----------------------
Kirkus Reviews 2014 January #1
A man from the future explores the past through his heritage in this quirky metaphysical adventure. This is an intrepid debut from frequent short story contributor Cantor, but any reader without an encyclopedic knowledge of Jewish mysticism may wish to come armed with an open Wikipedia page. Meet Leonard--Leonard works in the complaints department of Neetsa Pizza, in a futuristic world where global commerce is dominated by fast-food chains. Leonard works in a clean room in his home answering the phones, chatting occasionally with his sister Carol, babysitting his nephew Felix and asking questions of the "Brazen Head," a contemporary version of the medieval automaton reputed to be able to answer any question. Because all of this isn't odd enough, Leonard suddenly can only get calls from "Milione," an explorer from the 13th century who nightly describes his travels to the Orient. Next, a stranger begins leveling some serious history onto Leonard, a man who oddly speaks with the voice of Leonard's dead grandfather but who identifies himself as the kabala scholar Rabbi Yitzhak Saggi Nehor, known colloquially as Isaac the Blind. It's fair to say that the average reader could easily be a quarter of the way into Leonard's adventure in space and time before realizing he or she is deeply mired in a witty but quite eccentric exploration of Jewish mysticism. For being a rather petite book, it lures in an array of historical figures ranging from Abraham Abulafia, the founder of Prophetic Kabbalah, to Marco Polo to the English philosopher Roger Bacon. It's an unusual way to examine Jewish history and medieval thinking, but the story doesn't carry enough weight to justify the experiment. Leonard makes for an amusing protagonist, and Cantor makes some salient points about passing on generational wisdom, but it doesn't completely work as satire, science fiction or farce. This play on history and heritage plunges headlong into the mystic, but it's written for a very niche market. Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

----------------------
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 December #4

Leonard is an exemplary "Listener" in his job manning complaints hotline for the Pythagorean pizza chain, Neetsa Pizza. He is satisfied working from home, and has not ventured outside in over three years. His sister Carol says the world is broken, but Leonard's chooses to believe "bits of the world might be damaged, but never permanently so," and makes it "his mission, through Listening, to heal some part of it." Everything changes with a call from Marco, an imprisoned explorer returned from Cathay who refuses Leonard's pizza coupons and forces him to deviate from his safe, calculated responses. Cantor's wildly inventive debut novel is a mix of the comical and mystical, in a future ruled by fast-food conglomerates run by competing, antiquated sects. When Carol leaves Leonard with her son to attend missions with her book club, Leonard must finally leave the comforts of home to face the tumultuous world outside. Rife with deadpan humor and memorable characters mixed with time travel and supernatural powers, Cantor suspends disbelief and creates a loony world entirely of her own, which is terrifically funny and effortlessly enjoyable. This highly entertaining and adventurous tale will leave readers rooting for Leonard to save the world, with or without his coupons. (Jan.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

----------------------
Publishers Weekly Annex Reviews

Leonard is an exemplary "Listener" in his job manning complaints hotline for the Pythagorean pizza chain, Neetsa Pizza. He is satisfied working from home, and has not ventured outside in over three years. His sister Carol says the world is broken, but Leonard's chooses to believe "bits of the world might be damaged, but never permanently so," and makes it "his mission, through Listening, to heal some part of it." Everything changes with a call from Marco, an imprisoned explorer returned from Cathay who refuses Leonard's pizza coupons and forces him to deviate from his safe, calculated responses. Cantor's wildly inventive debut novel is a mix of the comical and mystical, in a future ruled by fast-food conglomerates run by competing, antiquated sects. When Carol leaves Leonard with her son to attend missions with her book club, Leonard must finally leave the comforts of home to face the tumultuous world outside. Rife with deadpan humor and memorable characters mixed with time travel and supernatural powers, Cantor suspends disbelief and creates a loony world entirely of her own, which is terrifically funny and effortlessly enjoyable. This highly entertaining and adventurous tale will leave readers rooting for Leonard to save the world, with or without his coupons. (Jan.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

----------------------