John Grisham is setting his next book in Italy. “Playing for Pizza,” the story of an American quarterback trying his luck in Italy, will come out in September 2007, the Doubleday Broadway Publishing Group announced Thursday. The book will be published simultaneously by Doubleday in the US and Century in the UK.
“One of the many joys of working with John is the element of surprise,” Doubleday publisher Stephen Rubin said in a statement. “Who would have thought that the master of the legal thriller would write a novel about cotton farming (‘A Painted House’) or a novel about the excesses of Christmas? (‘Skipping Christmas’) Now, John pulls another rabbit out of his endless supply of hats with ‘Playing for Pizza,’ a romp about a fish out of water that had me laughing out loud.”
“Playing for Pizza” is a short novel about a fallen American football star who can no longer get work in the National Football League and whose agent, as a last resort, signs a deal for him to play for the Parma Panthers, in Parma, Italy. The quarterback’s move to a small city in a foreign land leads to a series of cultural misadventures. The idea for the novel grew out of time Grisham spent in Italy researching his novel, The Broker, which was set in Bologna.
“I was pleasantly surprised to find real American football in Italy,” says Grisham, “and as I dug deeper a novel came together. The research was tough – food, wine, opera, football, Italian culture – but someone had to do it.”
Playing for Pizza will be published as a Century hardback on September 25th with an Arrow paperback the following year.