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Acting Alone Paperback – January, 1995

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 269 pages
  • Publisher: Browntrout Pub (January 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1563137232
  • ISBN-13: 978-1563137235
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,427,982 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

TOM BRADLEY is an essayist, novelist, and teacher of Anglophone literature at universities in China and Japan. His work has been nominated for the Editor's Book Award, the New York University Bobst Award, and the AWP Award Series in the Novel. His short stories have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes and have won various Tokyo contests. His work has appeared in Salon, Poets & Writers, Exquisite Corpse, and McSweeney's. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

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.
--Denis Dutton, editor of Arts & Letters Daily ("among the most influential media personalities in the world," Time Magazine 14 June 2004, U.S. edition)

The contemporaries of Michelangelo found it useful to employ the term terribilita to characterize some of the expressions of his genius, and I will quote it here to sum up the shocking impact of this novel as a whole. I read it in a state of fascination, admiration, awe, anxiety, and outrage.
--R.V. Cassill, editor of The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction

Bradley's characters tend to be less than respectable, yet imbued with a ferocious sense of the absurd, which is essential for survival and sanity--or at least what passes for sanity--in environments akin to madhouses...Dr. Bradley is a Class-A tongue-in-cheek satirist, and some of his sharpest barbs are those that zoom in on the pompous and pretentious world of modern--or post-modern--literature.
--Pacific Rim Review of Books

...impressive, funny, pleasantly challenging, and utterly unique.
--Dennis Loy Johnson, Moby Lives

The real point of reading Bradley, aside from his illumination of the ridiculous and grotesque world around us, is the rolling cadence of his pitch-perfect writing. We prize competent prose here at Danse Macabre, but we absolutely adore the rich, coloratura tones of Bradley's work, the strong, steady voice guiding us with spot-on verbiage and heady switchbacks to revelations by turns disgusting, divine, and gut-bustingly hilarious.
--James Kendley, Danse Macabre

When is the world going to wake up to the genius of Tom Bradley? of the most criminally underrated authors on the planet.
--Andrew Gallix, 3:am Magazine

Beyond the flawless surface of his stylistic facility, I am most impressed by Tom Bradley's ability to walk the edge of a tone that is simultaneously irreverent and profoundly serious. His work derives from the tradition of bawdy and absurdist black comedy of the late sixties, but is not an imitative slave to that tradition. It seems to me that Bradley has learned well from that generation of authors, but has mitigated their example with an even more traditional moral seriousness. It is a delight to be able to laugh aloud when one reads, and it is even more satisfying when there is a significant point to the laughter.

--Gordon Weaver, author of The Way We Know in Dreams

Tom Bradley is the libertine that Camille Paglia tries to portray herself as, in order to keep her Jocasta fantasies at bay.
--Jonathan Penton, "When Spencer met Hannibal: Recreational Cannibalism in the New American Century"

The fetid swamp of patriotism. The vapid legacy of TV culture. The intolerable stench of America's meat-based habits. Tom Bradley has seen it all coming and given it an inimitable voice. His prose delights as it slices and carves. His ideas entertain even as they challenge and provoke. We finally have a term for what falls between fiction and non-fiction: Bradley.
--Mickey Z., author of Dear Vito

Brilliant evocative writing. Bizarre imagination let free--an enviable skill.
--Consuelo Roland, author of The Good Cemetery Guide

A drowning tide of ebullient doom...
--Phil Rockstroh

Tom Bradley is a writer of truly extravagant gifts...It is remarkable to me that anyone who writes at such length could have an ear as fine as his for the rhythms of prose--but every sentence is considered, balanced and felicitous... I'd be hard pressed to think of any writer who has Bradley's stamina, his range, his learning, his felicity.
--Stephen Goodwin, author of Blood in

Bradley's trajectory of books, from the early SAM EDWINE NOVELS up through the mesmeric satire of VITAL FLUID and essay collections like PUT IT DOWN IN A BOOK, is toward a geist where categories have yet to be described. The fastenings and joineries of his new textual and graphic ubiety are measured in calibrations from some other dimension where the usual sockets and taper points of critical disassembly have to be replaced. Even with that, FAMILY ROMANCE is deviously structured to lead conclusion jumpers straight to the Hall of Laughter.
--NPR commentator Andrei Codrescu's Exquisite Corpse Journal

It takes a twisted sense of humor to appreciate this lunatic scholar, degenerate Harold Bloom, and biblical madman.
--John-Ivan Palmer, nthposition Magazine

I found Acting Alone to have an incredible energy level.
--Stanley Elkin, author of A Bad Man

Tom Bradley, this enormously misplaced exile, as he enters his second quarter century commuting back and forth between Hiroshima and "Naga-etcetera," would make Lafcadio Hearn reel with laughter, if not shake his head in wonder.
--Lolita Lark, editor of RALPH Magazine astute thinker and a stylist of rare brilliance...more than lives up to the glowing recommendation....expressed with great insight and charm...
--Harold Lime

Tom Bradley is one of the most misunderstood and ill-appreciated master-writers on the planet... This spectacular literary Lucifer, star of the East, talks like Hume might be imagined to have spoken to the comely Grisettes of pre-Revolutionary Paris (Well, here we are, young ladies! Here we are!)...
--Jesse Glass, author of The Lost Poet

I tell you that Dr. Bradley has devoted his existence to writing, number one, because it's fun (I mean the big complicated fun that none of us can ever hope to imagine, except during infinitesimally brief and rare moments in nature), and, number two, because he intends for every center of consciousness, everywhere, in all planes and conditions (not just terrestrial female Homo sapiens in breeding prime) to love him, forever, starting as soon as possible, though he's prepared to wait thousands of centuries after he's dead, or even longer if it turns out to be necessary. That's the ambition he cherishes. Talk about an ability to defer gratification...
--Cye Johan, Critical Appendix, Fission Among the Fanatics (Spuyten Duyvil Books, NYC)

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 21, 1999
Format: Paperback
A bizarre and engaging book, ACTING ALONE tackles diverse social issues and political views. Told by an omniscient narrator in an exaggerated, witty, and suprisingingly realistic manner, the strange story unfolds at KA&M, a cow college in a place called Kanorado, where Sam Edwine, the protagonist, teaches as a reluctant graduate student in the English Department.
Sam's fascination with words and language parallel the narrator's complex sentences, which are often full of revealing symbolism and irony.
When Sam listens to a member of the "underclass" on one of many long bus rides, the drugged youth from Texas brags about putting a hammer through someone's skull for sugaring the gas tank of his truck. As the Texan tells his tory, Sam realizes that issues like this, especially over a sugared gas tank, no longer interest him. He thinks to himself, "You know you're approaching middle age when the proletariat ceases to fascinate you."
The irony behind this statement is that Sam engages in some of the same "low class" activities, such as bar hopping, getting into fights, and making scenes when he is drunk.
The less attractive part of Sam's personality shows in his stomach-turning strings of grammatically correct but derogatory language. For example, he expresses himself about the meaninglessness of research papers, dissertations, and theses:
"Just wipe some boogers at random on a half-ream or so of twenty-five percent rag bond, and the [expletive referring to professors] will probably congratulate you for 'abandoning sense,' or performing some other bit of nameless, jaded decadence that only crypto-Trotskyites who've read too many hardbook books can appreciate."
Obviously, Sam does not have high opinions of his professors or colleagues.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 11, 1999
Format: Paperback
BOOK REVIEW by Dr. David Wood, author of A DEFINITIVE STUDY OF
In an age when literature is geographically unbounded and books are generically borderless, it is not strange to find Japanese novelists winning Nobel Prizes or even entering the hallowed ranks of English Literature in the country of origin. What is unusual is to find living American authors of megaproportions publishing first novels while resident in Japan. Tom Bradley is a professor of English at a national university, and he writes about his homeland with anything but an expatriate's nostalgia.
The back cover of this volume carries advance praise from two distinguished American novelists, and the present reviewer is quick to maelstrom spun from an imagination of superlative dimensions," and Stanley Elkin finds it to have "an incredible energy level."
Set in the Reagan era, Acting Alone features forays into such fanaticisms of the late twentieth century as politics, religion, violence and greed.
A merciless humor and tireless passion for words not seen since the King James Bible drive the novel at bullet-train speed through unmapped areas of linguistic elasticity and imagination. Readers once begun will find their concentration hostaged from all other diversions until they reach the last page.
None of the cast, from the "creative-writing industrialist" to the recently released Marine with sub-Marine life intelligence (whose lucrative memoir the former desperately wishes to ghostwrite), escapes the bombast of Bradley's parodic pen.
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