Tom Bradley is an American novelist, essayist and writer of short stories. He is the author of The Sam Edwine Pentateuch, a five-book series, various volumes of which have been nominated for the Editor's Book Award, the New York University Bobst Prize, and the AWP Award Series in the Novel. His essays and short stories are anthologized extensively in America and in Europe.
Tom Bradley's nonfiction has appeared in such publications as Salon.com and McSweeney's, and is regularly featured by the 3.7 million-hit-per-month Arts & Letters Daily. Denis Dutton, editor of the site, "among the most influential media personalities in the world" , writes as follows:
Tom Bradley is one of the most exasperating, offensive, pleasurable, and brilliant writers I know. I recommend his work to anyone with spiritual fortitude and a taste for something so strange that it might well be genius.
His sixth book, Fission Among the Fanatics, was named Non-Fiction Book of the Year 2007 by , with the citation, a literary giant among pygmies.
The publication of his seventh book, Lemur, by Raw Dog Screaming Press staked him out a position in the new Bizarro fiction movement. According to The Advocate, "[Lemur] could do as much to raise the rainbow flag as two Stonewall Day parades." Furthermore, the novel has "introduced a type that seems new to the public eye, but has been there under our noses ever since alternative sexuality began. Tom Bradley has meanwhile contributed to the theoretical elucidation of the Bizarro aesthetic with his criticism and his interviews.
According to Identity Theory Magazine--
Tom Bradley's fiction features such gentry as a harelip with a six-figure book advance, a Palestinian abortionist, a seven-foot-tall banjoist losing his mind in the London tube, a peyote-eating teen killer, a rent a-Frankenstein on Purple Haze, a Chinese compulsive masturbator, cannibal orgiasts in the basement of the Mormon Tabernacle, and Japanese schoolgirls conscripted to stir the vats in a poison gas factory.
Regarding the vexed question of the extent to which his fictional alter-ego, Sam Edwine, is autobiographical, Tom Bradley has written--
Well, if you stood the pair of us side by side and told him to shut the fuck up, you couldn't tell us apart. His is the higher native intelligence, while I behave better. For example, I haven't sunk a shovel into the skull of a former Iran hostage in the basement of a Popish convent; nor have I kidnapped the Crown Princess of Japan and allowed her to perform a strange kind of verbal fornication on me outside a bathroom. I did, once, however, like Sam Edwine, pass around pirated mimeographs of the Anarchist's Cookbook to an excitable bunch of grad students in Red China, resulting in at least one of them being shot in the back of the head point-blank in a public execution. But Sam cackled about it, and I feel like a horrible shit.
I never ate way too many psilocybin mushrooms in the Oaxacan jungle, stumbled on a man dying in the road, and failed to remember my Spanish grammar,because, unlike Sam Edwine, I never had any Spanish grammar in the first place. In fact, he speaks a lot more languages than I do. But I write better--otherwise he'd be answering this question about me instead of vice-versa.
As an "unsung nukee," Tom Bradley gravitated to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, "the most glamorous nuclear test sites of all," where his books and articles continue to cause controversies of a political nature .
In the opinion of Israeli journalist Barry Katz, who writes for in Paris, Tom Bradley deliberately courts controversy in the Extreme Orient, often at his own personal peril--
He does seem bent on leaving absolutely nobody unpissed-off. His venom’s no less ecumenical than gratuitous. He has braided a scourge of cords and is beleaguering folks in fanes of every denomination within reach. Take your pick: polygamist, popish or pagan....
Rain Taxi Review of Books expresses the notion as follows:
As proof of his leaving no one un-offended, he's been nudged out of every university where he has taught. For the past two decades he has lived the life of an ex-pat laugh assassin, tucked away in a volcanic mountain on the island of Kyushu.
NPR commentator Andrei Codrescu's million-hit-per-day Exquisite Corpse Journal goes even further, referring to Tom Bradley's "megalomaniacal urge for public self-annihilation... [and] his unwholesome Christ complex.
He claims paternal descent from a loose clan of very large Mormon handcart pioneers who were excommunicated almost immediately upon arriving in Deseret. It is from this lineage that Tom Bradley has inherited his "whole hefty metabolism and his remarkable height. describes him as "sociopathically tall.
He is matrilaterally descended from an earlier Nagasaki expatriate, Thomas Glover, the "Scottish Samurai." Known as the Founder of Modern Japan, Glover's heavy industrial pursuits eventually attracted America's second atom bomb. It's been speculated that certain esoteric activities Tom Bradley has undertaken in Nagasaki are intended as atonement for this hereditary guilt.
Sam Edwine came to me, fully fleshed, one night in high school, long ago...With that sun-in-a-magnifying-glass concentration that only a fourteen-year-old mind can conjure up, I found myself at Shrewsbury, on the plain between Hal's camp and the rebels', and this big, fat, hilarious, cowardly, self-indulgent sot was standing over a corpse, saying "...if thou embowel me to-day, I'll give you leave to powder me and eat me too tomorrow."
Having stabbed that already dispatched body...this entity billowed up before me and said, "...with a new wound in your thigh, come you along with me." And he took me up on his back, and away we went.
Writing is the pole around which my external circumstances are knotted like snakes. I could never hold anything together without writing.
To craft an object so seemingly blameless as a book, yet so packed with furtive abomination, to bring forth a small rectangular solid that is fuller of life than most big round gooshy people--what luck, what a privilege!
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