WhenTom Bradley was a little boy he was given a gazetteer for Christmas. Aslittle boys will, he looked up all the places in the world that startwith the F-word. There were two, Fukien in China and Fukuoka in Japan.Little did he suspect that he would one day be exiled to both.
Tom is a former lounge harpist. During his pre-exilicperiod, he played his own transcriptions of Bach andDebussy in a Salt Lake City synagogue that had beentransformed into a pricey watering hole by a nephew ofthe Shah of Iran.
He taught British and American literature to Chinesegraduate students in the years leading up to theTiananmen Square massacre. He was politely invited toleave China after burning a batch of student essaysabout the democracy movement rather than surrenderingthem to "the leaders."
He wound up teaching conversational skills to freshmandentistry majors in the Japanese "imperial university"where they used to vivisect our bomber pilots andserve their livers raw at festive banquets. But hiswriting somehow sustains him.
To date, Tom has published five novels tracing thenot-quite-career of a seedy member of thelumpen-intelligentsia named Sam Edwine. If he didn'tthink it might be offensive, Tom would call thiscorpus THE SAM EDWINE PENTATEUCH.
The first novel in the series, KILLING BRYCE, examinesthe disintegration of the Edwines, a family ofgigantic Jack-Mormons. In ACTING ALONE Sam tries toget hired as ghost-writer for a recently releasedhostage of Islamic fundamentalists. BLACK CLASS CURfinds Sam in China in the halcyon days just before thestudent democracy movement gave the Party the excuseit needed to slam a lid on everything.KARA-KUN/FLIP-KUN can be read as a portrait ofcontemporary Hiroshima, where Sam brings theexpatriate community face-to-face with the JapaneseMafia. THE CURVED JEWELS shows the Crown Princess ofJapan experiencing understandable second thoughtsabout being wed to the grandson of Hirohito, andfleeing the imperial palace with Sam's help.
Tom's short stories have been nominated for PushcartPrizes. One or two were translated into Japanese, orso he's been told. These stories feature such gentryas a harelip with a six-figure book advance, aPalestinian abortionist, a seven-foot-tall banjoistlosing his mind in the London tube, a peyote-eatingteen killer, a rent a-Frankenstein on Purple Haze, aChinese compulsive masturbator, cannibal orgiasts inthe basement of the Mormon Tabernacle, and Japaneseschoolgirls conscripted to stir the vats in a poisongas factory.
His no-less uplifting essays appear in Salon.com,McSweeney's, Exquisite Corpse, Poets & WritersMagazine, and lots of other places. They are oftenfeatured in that sublimest of all blogs, ARTS ANDLETTERS DAILY--which looks like it's going to win thisyear's coveted Webby.
Showcased in ARTS AND LETTER DAILY is a strange andglorious rave-review of Tom's fifth novel(http://www.corpse.org/issue_3/secret_agents/johan.html).This review diagnoses him as suffering from an"unwholesome Christ complex and a desire for publicself-annihilation," just because he mocks the penis ofEmperor Hirohito's grandson, and has publiclyannounced his ambition to be the Salman Rushdie of thePacific Rim.
Speaking of Tom Bradley novels, his second one comesequipped with the following blurbs:
"I found ACTING ALONE to have an incredible energylevel."--Stanley Elkin, author of A Bad Man
"The contemporaries of Michelangelo found it useful toemploy the term 'terribilita' to characterize some ofthe expressions of his genius, and I will quote ithere to sum up the shocking impact of this novel as awhole. I read it in a state of fascination,admiration, awe, anxiety, and outrage."--R.V. Cassill, editor of The Norton Anthology ofShort Fiction
Identity Theory article: "TheBloodsucker of Nagasaki"