Visit a concentration camp for spastics, mental defectives and political derelicts in the jungle outside Foo-Chow. Help prepare Japan's Crown Princess for “bridal breach” in the Togu Palace. Watch children undergo systematic emotional abuse in a Soviet kindergarten. Poke around for uncollapsed blood vessels with a junkie tart during High Mass in China's underground church. Learn how to make a movie from absolute scratch using only stuff you can find in the back yard.
Stories that bounce back and forth across the Pacific as if it were a mud puddle:
A seven-foot-tall member of the Greatest Generation gets to stay home from World War II and fornicate with his friends' wives... sexually ambiguous creatures lay a six-figure book advance on a harelip... an obese janitor in a Mormon prayer hall wedges himself behind the organ pipes, dies, and "fills the joint with green corpse steam..."
Meanwhile, in China...
A Palestinian medical student gets chained to a conveyor belt in a Manchurian abortion mill... a former Red Guard returns from rustication only to find his comrades running a bourgeois beauty salon called SYJVESTER STAJJONE'S... an American "foreign expert" hijacks a beggar's wheelchair and steals a baby...
Bradley’s satire of the creative writing workshop in all its blandness, uselessness, and posturing is, hands down, one of the best and funniest I have ever read—thoroughly vicious and highly accessible to all readers.
Then there is the tour de force, “At the Creative Writing Workshop.” This is a wildly amusing trip through an abattoir of pompous literary sacred cows.
In this vicious satire, Bradley hilariously sends up the PEN Club, the National Book Award and the Writer-in-Residence...
--Pacific Rim Review of Books
Calliope's Boy features, among other gentry, a lapsed Mormon banjoist losing his mind in the London tube; a Japanese language teacher being fisted in the Utah desert by wild Uncompahgre Indians while their squaws gnaw on his fingers; a compulsively masturbating former Red Guard; a visit to the corpse-littered bowels of Beijing's Public Security Bureau lockup; and an acid-addled fourteen-year-old's brain dalliance with an old lady in a Nevada psych ward.
Hemorrhaging Slave of an Obese Eunuch happens in the middle of the Adriatic Sea during Neronic times, in Hiroshima Cathedral's demon-infested basement, in the royal elephant stables of a Hindustani town three millennia ago, in a Tokyo AIDS hospice disguised as a derelict kindergarten, on a yacht anchored off a South China leper isolation colony, and on top of a skull-shaped and -textured geothermal formation in the prune-colored midnight.