It doesn't take much to tip the world into chaos. You don't even have to mean to do it. You might be an honest family man; a police chief in a small town in Central Vietnam, say, with no desire whatsoever to unleash catastrophe. A man such as Chief Duong, with simple dreams of domestic happiness and future immortality by means of a small statue on a roundabout. But the problem with dreams is it's often hard to look ahead. To see that borrowing money for your daughter's marriage to a local bigwig will lead to the kidnap of a footballer from Scunthorpe, the downfall of a global soft drinks empire, incidents of attempted matricide, public murder, re-arranged marriage, hypnotic malpractice, and one unfortunate act of geriatric perversion. And that's not to mention what happens to the town's monkeys. Because every action has a consequence. And were she asked Mrs Duong could consult her astrological charts and tell her husband exactly that. But it's not just the chief who needs telling. There's roving British blogger, J C Bone, with an illegal marriage contract on his hands, and Global Human Resource Manager, Sherry-Sioux with a celebrity surveillance programme to keep under wraps. There's a chief superintendent with lucrative investment plans and a physician with trail-blazing psychological ambitions. And then there's Chief Duong's freedom-fighting children. You see the biggest problem with chaos is that once it's unleashed, everyone's involved. And once everyone's involved, how on earth is one little police chief ever going to put things right?
Paula Lichtarowicz's debut The First Book of Calamity Leek was described as 'hypnotic...one of the hottest reads of the year' (Elle) and 'a mash-up of Roald Dahl and Margaret Atwood' (Lady). She lives in London and works in television production.More About Paula Lichtarowicz