cover image A Soul in a Bottle

A Soul in a Bottle

Tim Powers, . . Subterranean, $22 (83pp) ISBN 978-1-59606-075-3

In this taut, eerie novella from Powers (Three Days to Never ), used-book hunter George Sydney finds he can summon a beautiful poet when he discovers a signed volume containing a previously unknown variant of one sonnet. The good news is that he can bring the mysterious woman, Cheyenne Fleming, back to life. The bad news is that if he does, he will never meet her, and the act itself may harm an innocent. Set in Los Angeles, Powers's intricate story shows how Sydney's loneliness and alcoholism leaves him vulnerable to someone (or something) that is not what it appears to be. There are no thin, hairy specters lurking in this tale, and no cold grue to chill one's bones. Its impact is more moral than visceral, evoking the pity and fear that are hallmarks of tragedy. Exquisitely illustrated by J.K. Potter, this slender volume is sure to appeal to epicures of the terrible. (Dec.)