Salvage and Demolition

Tim Powers. Subterranean (www.subterraneanpress.com), $30 (160p) ISBN 978-1-59606-515-4
A rare book dealer and a forgotten beat poet save the world in this charming time-travel tale from liminal fantasist Powers (Hide Me Among the Graves). As far as Richard Blanzac is concerned, the mysterious poetry manuscript he's found in a beatup cardboard box of junk once owned by San Francisco poet Sophia Greenwald is probably not worth much—but if it's not, why are people suddenly desperate to get it? Then he finds that reading just a couple of lines is enough to send him back in time to 1957 San Francisco, where a bizarre cult is hoping to use the poem to achieve "non-existence." Like much of Powers' work, this time-hopping novella is a "secret history," deftly set into the spaces between real historical events. Powers skillfully weaves intrigue, romance, and the possible end of the world into this twisty tale of the strangeness hidden behind the mundane. Agent: Russell Galen, Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/05/2012
Release date: 01/01/2012
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