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The Man in the High Castle Paperback – January 24, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a very complex, suspenseful novel, consisting of four main plot lines and a host of characters whose lives sometimes interact. Don't expect any slam-bang pyrotechnic action here, despite the novel's provocative premise. It's more a slice of life tale, showing that even after a catastrophic defeat, life in America would go on. Dick is very good at detailing the nuances of life in Axis-ruled America. For example, at one point as an aside, it is pointed out that after the Nazi pograms, the only surviving prewar comedian is Bob Hope, and even he has to broadcast out of Canada. Also, an unintended irony for a novel written in 1962 is Dick's conjecture that if the United States had lost WWII, we would all be listening to Japanese audio equipment and driving German cars now. The author achieves the near impossible feat of actually being even-handed towards the Nazis without glamorizing them. He describes them at one point as Neanderthals in white lab coats, technological geniuses who have drained the Mediterranean and are conquering the Solar System, yet are morally bankrupt.Read more ›
What does that mean? Well, basically, if you think that the characters in this book seem a little out of place, keep reading, and you may find YOURSELF out of place.
On the surface, it is the usual time-shifting novel...FDR was assasinated in 1936, and as a result, the United States lost WW II. Twenty years in the future, when the novel takes place, Nazi Germany and the Japanese Empire have occupied the United States and imposed their brand of culture on their respective halves of the American populace.
But this book really isn't about alternate time lines...its about alternate realities. Things are not as they seem...characters' true identities are hidden, and their moralities are tested. It's about the nature of the true state of the universe, Eastern religion, and the I-Ching. When Philip K. Dick is at his best, his characters question their own existence, and it soon follows that the readers do the same.
So when you come to the end of the book, hopefully, a number of things will happen:
Number 1: You'll instantly re-read the ending.
Number 2: You'll throw the book against the wall and exclaim "that's it?"
Number 3: You'll probably re-read the ending again.
Number 4: You'll swear that you'll never read another Philip K. Dick novel.
Number 5: Later, you'll think a bit about the book, and realize that the novel wasn't really about what you thought it was.
Number 6: You'll read it again. And again...
This isn't your typical sci-fi novel. The story doesn't wrap-up into a neat little package. Like Eastern religions, time is not linear, it is circular, and that is the reality of the book.
Alternate histories are so commonplace in sci-fi today, that it is important to look at this book as the one that really started it all. A completely original masterpiece...even the followers can't keep up.
In all an imaginative take on what life could have been like, uniquely flavored by the influence of Eastern Philosophy.
Thus, in my opinion "The Man in the High Castle" is about, among other things (in no particular order): 1) the lives of Americans under Japanese occupation; 2) the lives of the Japanese occupiers, and especially their interaction with various Americans - white, black, Jewish; 3) the Japanese-German relationship, and the difference in Japanese and German culture; 4) what is the nature of "reality"?; 5) what is "authentic" and what is "fake"?; 6) what constitutes a moral life?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Read this after watching the amazon prime show. One of the times I thought the video adaptation was better than the book. Read morePublished 14 hours ago by Kennith Conley Coleman
Loved this alternate history with great ending... The scary part was how easily Americans adapated to nazism and to Japanese control of the west coast. Read morePublished 1 day ago by inner city teacher
Interesting alternative view of history mixed with Asian mysticism. I was surprised how far the tv show strayed from the book.Published 1 day ago by Mark T Miraglia
Read years ago. Purchased for a friend. Great book! A must read!Published 1 day ago by Amazon Customer
The idea of the book must have come to the author while slouching on a sagging porch or hawking a few sickly turnips at the village market.Published 1 day ago by wes68