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The Transmigration of Timothy Archer (Valis Trilogy) Paperback – October 18, 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews
Book 3 of 3 in the VALIS Trilogy Series

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Editorial Reviews

Book Description

Vintage Paperback, 1991
Previous ISBN 978-0679734444

From the Inside Flap

The Transmigration of Timothy Archer, the final novel in the trilogy that also includes Valis and The Divine Invasion, is an anguished, learned, and very moving investigation of the paradoxes of belief. It is the story of Timothy Archer, an urbane Episcopal bishop haunted by the suicides of his son and mistress--and driven by them into a bizarre quest for the identity of Christ. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Valis Trilogy (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Reissue edition (October 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547572603
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547572604
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #415,754 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Unlike "VALIS" and "The Divine Invasion", this novel dispenses with science fiction apparatus in its examination of religious and philosophical issues. Based on the life of controversial Episcopal Bishop James Pike, who was a close friend of the author's, this is one of Dick's best written novels. Many of his earlier works were produced at a blisteringly fast pace, without much time for revision; some of them are essentially first drafts. Here, in Dick's last work, he slows down enough to polish his prose and put events in their proper context. The result is a fascinating and deeply moving story.
Although this novel is usually billed as part of a trilogy or series, its sole connection with "VALIS" and "Divine Invasion" is that the story has a religious theme. Otherwise there is no connection.
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Format: Paperback
TTA has very little to do with either Valis or the Divine Invasion, despite it supposedly being the third in the Valis Trilogy. 'The Owl in Daylight,' the book PKD never wrote, was the third in that trilogy. TTA stands alone.
I adore this book; it is simply one of my favourite PKD books. It is about love, empathy, and death. It is part biography of Bishop Pike, but more than that it is a profound study of life and death. The main character, Angel Archer, is one of PKD's best, and truly the best woman ever to inhabit a PKD novel. We have Ursula Le Guin to thank, and least in part, for that.
This book is almost completely dialogue, both interior and exterior. The plot means little; it is a cover for the real issues at hand. This is not a biography. The biographical material provides the plot, but this is not where the heart of the novel lies. The best aspect of TTA is the characters: Archer Archer especially, but also Edgar Barefoot. Each character in this book is real, not in the sense that they exist in the real world, but in the sense that they are really real characters (I know this sounds awkward.)
It is a book about sadness and pain, but in the end it is about love. Not love as in romantic love, but abstract love, love and understanding for all things. PKD was a truly good-hearted man, and this is the greatest testament to him.
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Format: Paperback
I have read the other reviews of this book and, quite frankly, they all missed the point of this book. To start with it is written from the female perspective, which is not an easy task for a man, and yet PKD pulls it off briliantly. This is not a book about Dick trying to run his snobbery down our throats but an insightful and emotionally touching perspective of a man pursuing truth, with a zeal that leads to his death, as viewed by another party (female). Indeed, its very core reflects the Bible's condemnation of pride proceeding the fall, mixed with the emotional tenderness that Mary must have felt when she witnessed her sons death from pursuing his ideals. Dick began an introspective search for a meaning of God after his encounter with Valis, continued the journey, in The Divine Invasion, with a discussion of the modern God of the New Testament versus the ancient gods that existed before humans adapted monotheism, finishing with Transmigration. Don't pass this book over because you will miss Dick's best writing before he died. I also recommend Eye in the Sky and Clans of the Alphane Moon as two more of PKD's brilliance and humor.
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Format: Paperback
This is perhaps the most readable book by Philip K Dick, a science fiction writer whose driving ambition seems to have been to finally be recognized as a "real" writer. The character this book is organized around is based on Dick's real life friend, Bishop James Pike, who never seemed to care if he was considered orhtodox or not. Perhaps that's why he was brought up on heresy charges and almost excommunicated from the Episcopalian church. The character in the book seems to reflect the real Pike, who went around California getting little old ladies from Pasadena (literally) to sit on the floor of their churches and give Zen a chance. He also wrote a fairly controversial book, The Wilderness Revolt, painting Jesus as a Hebrew nationalist intent on driving out the Romans.

Some real life events that led Pike to write his book The Other Side are outlined in PKD's book from his own perspective. This was supposed to be PKD's big mainstream novel, his breakthrough to the other side, but only he would decline Greek nouns in a "mainstream" novel, or claim that Jesus never existed and was a code-name for psychedelic mushrooms designed to throw the man, the Romans, off the track (he doesn't even have the good grace to call it "manna" but insists on some Hebrew verb for "I am"...). PKD writes from a woman narrator's perspective throughout, which makes it even more interesting.

The central problem in the book revolves around transmigration really, or reincarnation as it is more commonly called, and deals with the unknowability factor. It mercifully allows the reader to draw his or her own conclusions, just as life does. In terms of style it almost achieves a kind of perfection all its own, a polishedness that gleams the way a well-used doorknob might, the thoughts of a man used to dealing with metaphysical happenings on an everyday basis. I highly recommend it.
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