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Thursday
Jan122012

Radio Belly: Stories

In the surreal world of Buffy Cram's stories, someone or something slips beneath the skin of her already beleaguered characters. Stealing into their worlds, it rearranges the familiar into something strange and possibly threatening, 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 pate 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 imbues these stories with complexity, grace and luster.