Once Upon an Effing Time
In 1969, eight-year-old Elizabeth commits the first of many crimes to save her mother, Margaret. She steals the keys to a school bus called “Far Out” and they flee south of the border, in pursuit of free love and rock n’ roll.
Now, 3805 days later, having paid the price for a horrific crime, Elizabeth is let out of the Willingdon Youth Detention Centre and heads to a group home where she must come to terms with her sometimes-magical, sometimes-terrifying childhood.
Once Upon An Effing Time is a quirky, terrifying, darkly-funny romp that explores the fuzzy lines between sanity and insanity, magic and reality, love and duty. It asks the questions: how does it feel, to be on your own in a different country, with no direction home, like a rolling stone? And what exactly is the difference between love and delusion? And is it really really possible to overcome the past?
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.
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.