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A formidable debut of nine surreally funny, politically astute and emotionally gripping stories.
In the surreal world of Buffy Cram's stories, someone or something has slipped beneath the skins of her already beleaguered characters, rearranging the familiar into something strange and even sinister, making off with their emotional and even physical goods. A smug suburbanite becomes obsessed with the "hybrids," the wandering mob of intellectual vagrants overrunning his complacent little cul de sac, snacking on p‚te and reciting poetry; a father and daughter's post-apocalyptic Pacific island civilization, built of floating garbage and sustained entirely by rubber, is beginning to fray, literally, revealing something disastrously like moss beneath its smooth synthetic skin; following an appendectomy, a young woman's belly starts transmitting what sound like Russian radio signals; a young publishing assistant, demoted at work and dumped by her boyfriend, finds herself unable to control her strange new appetites.
Inhabited, occupied, possessed -- suddenly, the world as they knew it is no longer quite recognizable, not to mention safe -- if it actually was safe before. But it's the surprising, often revelatory ways in which Cram's characters navigate through these strange new landscapes that imbue these stories with complexity, grace and lustre.
For a preview of the stories in Radio Belly search for Large Garbage: A Radio Belly Single -- downloadable for free from all ebook retailers.
"Buffy Cram's debut short story collection is full of the stuff publishers salivate over. Oddball characters -- a between-careers museum writer; a girl who believes her belly picks up radio -- in absurd situations -- on a giant island of plastic after the Armageddon; facing a growing hoard of middle-class homeless. Cram's stories, like her characters and situations, are slightly unhinged, often choosing inventive quirk over heartfelt truth...Cram shows she doesn't need a smile to be smart, leaving you hungry for more."
"...an often-emotional, always-entertaining journey..."
"Buffy Cram's book of short stories, Radio Belly, is full of kooky tales that reel a reader in and don't let go. She tackles issues, but combines them with magical thinking, so that the resulting stories are both really far out, but also very real at the same time."
"...[a] speculative, off-kilter tinge....allows Cram to represent shifts of mental and emotional ballast with a very light and descriptive touch."
"A man transforms his lover into a chair. A well-to-do suburbanite joins a troupe of cultured, ragtag vagrants. Buffy Cram's characters exist in off-kilter realities, just slightly in the future perhaps, yet they're as real as the people next door. Such is life in the funny-strange, quirky-sad world of Radio Belly. A wonderful, inventive debut."
"...an entertaining read, and Cram's writing pulled me from story to story with its promise of wit and a new lens through which to see the world. It is not every writer who can successfully combine stories about Dead Heads, dystopian futures and moustache conspiracy theories, and that Buffy Cram not only did so, but did so in her first collection, is an exciting indication of what she might have in store for us in the future."
"Buffy Cram's Radio Belly, another noteworthy first book, splits the difference between...meta-fictional hijinks and...unflinching realism. Put another way, Cram takes the quirkiness in her stories seriously."
"...because of [Buffy Cram's] characters strange quirks, they seem to leap off the page and stand before you fully formed in glorious living colou...a must read."
"...a terrific melange of overt weirdness and exquisite subtlety."
"...giving you the unexpected is what this promising young writer is best at...a whip-smart storyteller."
"...sparkling and inventive."
"...I found myself loving Cram's quirky and original perspective, as well as her observant description and unique story-telling. Readers looking for a fresh short story collection, or even just something a little out of the ordinary, would be well served by picking up Radio Belly and I am excited to see what Cram publishes next."