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The Bible Repairman and Other Stories Paperback – September 1, 2011
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Powers knows the ways we get hauntedby ambition, loss, greed, and heartbreakand you finish reading this handful of beautifully crafted tales wishing he’d tell us more.”
Mr. Powers makes you doubt the reality of your own [world]. Are there still sin-eaters and ghost-talkers quietly pursuing their trade in tenements and behind weed-infested yards, with regular tariffs and specializations? If there are, what do they know that you don’t? That’s what creates a true frisson.”
Wall Street Journal
Tim Powers’s first collection of short fiction in over half a decade, The Bible Repairman and Other Stories is a potent six-story collection that plays effortlessly with many of the author’s favorite themes.”
Green Man Review
Powers specializes in hidden histories and all of these stories present a very real exterior and another world inside its cracks.”
Powers’s first new collection since 2005 assembles five stories and a novella, where he exhibits his extraordinary talent as a fantasist and his uncommon imaginative power.”
Superb.... Here, in potent, distilled form, you will find Powers’s trademarked secret histories, heroically damaged (or damagedly heroic) losers, creepy supernatural phenomena, and macabre humor.”
Barnes & Noble Review
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Still, BIBLE REPAIRMAN came along only six years later, and contains six stories written since STRANGE ITINERARIES -- and, as far as I can tell, Powers has never written six stories in six years before this. I could quibble and say that I want more novels from Powers, but, the truth is, Powers is one of our very best and most exacting fantasy writers, and I'll take whatever he wants to write. 
As is common with story collections by major writers these days, several of the stories in BIBLE REPAIRMAN first appeared as expensive limited editions -- the title story and "A Soul in a Bottle" from Subterranean, and "A Time to Cast Away Stones" from Charnel House -- and one of the remaining three stories, "A Journey of Only Two Paces," only appeared in shorter form in the program book for the British national SF convention. So most readers, except for the most well-heeled and attentive Powers fans, will only have had the opportunity to see, at most, two of these stories.Read more ›
THE BIBLE REPAIRMAN AND OTHER STORIES consists of five short stories and an extended piece - 'A Time to Cast Away Stones' - that is a coda of sorts to his STRESS OF HER REGARD. To my mind, it's the most engaging piece in the book, a fantasmagorical tale that mixes British author Edward John Trelawny's involvement in Greek civil wars circa 1824 with mountain gods, Percy Shelley's jawbone and Lord Byron's little toe! Don't worry. Powers makes it all work, in part because the piece runs to almost 60 pages.
The other stories, of shorter length, are uneven. For the life of me, I couldn't get into 'The Bible Repairman.' It seemed too fey; too insubstantial, like trying to capture smoke with your hands. 'A Soul in a Bottle' focused on a dead authoress seeking a second chance at life. 'The Hour of Babel' dealt with time travel. The executor of a will gets more than he bargained for in 'A Journey of Only Two Places.' All three stories were so-so. I did enjoy 'Parallel Lines' which features a battle of wits between an elderly woman and her dead twin sister who's plotting to return from the grave.
Given the regard Powers is held in, I could be all wet when it comes to THE BIBLE REPAIRMAN AND OTHER STORIES. I was disappointed but others may think it's vintage Powers. Your call, folks.
As Harriet mentions and is true, many of these short stories were previously available in very small print runs. However, I'm a pretty big Tim Powers fan and only had half of these. The collection is excellent and the stories are interesting. They will definitely make more sense if you are familiar with Tim Power's conceits around ghosts, but should make sense to the new reader as well.
I think Michael's review rightly calls out 'The Bible Repairman' for being just a little short of fulfilling, but I do love the others and in particular 'The Hour of Babel'.
Of additional interest is the small afterword he writes for each piece, providing insight as to each story's genesis. I don't recall those being in the original editions I have of "A Soul in a Bottle" nor "The Bible Repairman" and are a nice bonus.
"The Bible Repairman" is about Torrez, a man who makes his living "fixing" Bibles: carefully "scorch[ing] out the verses the customers found intolerable, with a wood-burning stylus." Particularly popular passages for excision include Jesus's condemnation of remarriage after divorce and Jesus's promise of Hell to stingy people. He also does custom repairs to cars, such as installing a "pain button" that the owner can push when the car refuses to start -- foolishness, but it indulges his customers' anthropomorphization of their automobiles -- but also performing legitimate repairs, such as removing a babbling ghost from a car's stereo system. He does not, however, retrieve stolen or kidnapped ghosts any longer, for fear of losing his mind. But one day a man comes to his door asking him to ransom his daughter -- and he means a living daughter, not a ghost. In payment, he brings Torrez's own daughter's ghost, kidnapped years ago. You cannot adequately imagine how the story goes from there; you must read it. It is one of the more peculiar and wonderful stories I've read in recent years.
Tim Powers's affinity with ghosts extends to "A Soul in a Bottle." In this story, George Sydney meets a woman as he reaches down to place three pennies beside Jean Harlow's square at the Chinese Theater. She becomes entangled with his discovery of a rare book of poetry -- rare because one of the poems appears to be signed by the poet.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent collection and a must for a Tim Powers fan like me. I've read all his novels and one previous collection, so I was surprised and pleased that all these stories were new... Read morePublished 1 month ago by California Dreamin
More supernatural Tim Powers stuff; very entertaining as short stories.Published 11 months ago by WILLIAM E REID
Though I don't find Powers' short stories as consistently evocative as his novels, they still brim with the crazy ideas and inventive merging of fact and fantasy that no other... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Nicholas
Good collections of Powers' particular brand of strange. I enjoyed the stories, they each stood alone and would best be read with a longish break between to allow experience to... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Glenn A. Hendricks
There is definitely some writing skill evident, but it just doesn't evolve into a completed story. I had the feeling that there was no there,there. Read morePublished 19 months ago by N. Edwards
I'm a fan of Tim Powers, I liked this collection. If you are not a fan you might not like it, if you've never read his stuff ... I envy you. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Harry Crane
Some stories are interesting, but it was hard work to get through the last one! I hope his other works do not demand as much from their reader!Published 21 months ago by Doris
strange stories. I can't really decide on which genre this book belongs. Not a bad read, just not my type.Published 21 months ago by ktfirefly