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Confessions of a Crap Artist Paperback – June 30, 1992

4.2 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"One of the most original practitioners writing any kind of fiction." -- The Sunday Times (London)

"Dick is entertaining us about reality and madness, time and death, sin and salvation.... We have our own homegrown Barges."-- Ursula K. LeGuin, New Republic

"Philip K. Dick's best books always describe a future that is both entirely recognizable and utterly unimaginable? -- The New York Times Book Review

Book Description

Vintage paperback, 2004
Previous ISBN 978-0-679-74114-5
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reissue edition (June 30, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679741143
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679741145
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,365,181 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A tire-regroover named Jack Isidore is an eccentric fellow. He believes that sunlight has weight, cows have four stomachs, the earth is hollow, and by the way, the world is going to end on April 23rd. But the weirdest part of the story is this: his "normal" sister and brother-in-law and some friends of theirs are even STRANGER than he is. In this book Philip K. Dick explores what it means to be normal. Are we any different from the people in the mental institutions? Unlike some of PKD's books, this one is very consistent and keeps your attention the whole way through. I was very pleased with it. Sure, it's more fiction than science fiction, but it proves how versatile an author PKD really is. This is definitely one of his best books, and I've read about half of his novels.
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Format: Paperback
Over the last two decades Philip K. Dick has slowly gained in repute as one of this centuries' most inventive and prolific authors: a sci-fi auteur who cranked out pulp masterpieces by the dozen while surviving on horsemeat and methamphetamine. There are several themes prevalent in the majority of Dick's oeuvre: paranoia, drugs, the nature of God, schizophrenic time/space variations, aliens, semi-tragic characters in often archetypical clothing. _Confessions of a Crap Artist_, however, contains almost none of these bizarre themes; as one of Dick's stabs at the mainstream, _Confessions_ is a straightforward examination of life in Southern California the 50's, with `normal' people co-existing by `wackos,' both of whom, in typical Dick fashion, change places over the course of the novel.
Jack Isodore is a crap artist, a collector of crackpot theories and useless junk, a man endlessly fascinated by the world's unexplained secrets be they legitimate or not. But he is also happy and fairly satisfied by his life, something that cannot be said for his sister-in-law Judy and her husband Charlie, painted in broad strokes as a shrew and the man she uses, respectable on the surface but narrow-minded and demented when closely examined. Their `American Dream' lifestyle, the house and the farm and the three little kids, is altered/destroyed by manipulation and dissatisfaction with said `Dream', and when set in place next to Jack's lackadaisical routines and surprisingly strong moral fiber, the line between crazy and normal blurs with rapid intensity.
Along with _The Man in the High Castle_, this is among Dick's most lucid works, and probably the place novices should start first. Though a quick read, the implications and undercurrents of _Confessions of a Crap Artist_ should resonate within the reader for some time after completion, which, in my opinion, is the truest mark of a worthwhile book. Recommended.
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Format: Paperback
Those familiar with Dick's work will enjoy this. And new-comer's to Dick's style (Or Sci-Fi entirely) will become thirsty for more. Chronicalling the (supposed) social misfit, Jack Isidore, as he speaks his mind about science, life, and his family. In Berkley (where most of Dick's work takes place), California, Jack resides and lives, until he is taken in by his sibling, and brother-in -law. There, begins a story that raises intriguing questions, affairs, madness, and life as a supposed misfit. After reading this, you WILL know Jack Isidore. Warning: This book will stick with you for a long time! Also, if you get a chance, look into the movie based on this book: Barjo, the 1993 French film.NOTE:NEVER LISTEN TO THE DESCRIPTION OF PHILIP K. DICK's BOOKS, THAT ARE ON THE BACK. FOR SOME REASON, THEY HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE STORY, ESPECIALLY "WE CAN BUILD YOU". The backs make each book sound like every other crappy second-rate sci-fi book. THEY ARE NOT.
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Format: Paperback
This book, written in 1959 and finally published in 1975, was the first of Dick's mainstream novels to appear in book form. In many ways it is probably the best: its multi-focal narration offers inside glimpses into the minds of two of Dick's most fascinating characters-the "crap artist" Jack Isidore and his sister Fay Hume. The novel derives its energy from the juxtaposition of their radically different perspectives. Jack was the classic nerd in high school, who was obsessed with pseudoscience and adolescent power fantasies, which if anything have intensified as he has grown into his thirties. Faye is impulsive, uninhibited, outspoken, and aggressively sexual. But the root of her attractiveness lies in her ability to live in the moment with a seeming intensity and freedom. This combination is potent in tempting Nat Anteil, a young student, away from his wife, while driving Fay's husband Charlie to a violent end. The predictably tragic consequences of this situation put the reader in the odd position of identifying with the nerd, whose emotionally stunted state make him an ideal and acute observer of the passionate madness of the other characters.
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Format: Paperback
Darkly funny, slightly sad, brutally honest, and philosophically deep, Confessions of a Crap Artist merits the distinction of being among Philip K. Dick's best novels, despite its prima facie dissimilarity to PKD's main body of work. Ostensibly a chronicle of the disintegration of a middle class family (a rather banal and hackneyed gimmick in contemporary American fiction), Confessions is at heart an inquiry into the nature of reality. PKD fans will immediately recognize this as the motivating theme of the author's career.
The protagonist is the mildly schizophrenic Jack Isidore (recognize that name from anywhere?), whose obsessions with pulp mags, pseudoscience and new age detritus render him an ineffective, if harmless excrescence on mainstream society, and enlighten the novel's title. After being arrested for shoplifting a can of chocolate covered ants, Jack is "rescued" by his sister Fay and her husband Charley Hume and brought to live with them in their ostentatious Marin County home, where Jack earns his keep by scrubbing the floors, feeding the livestock and babysitting the Humes' two daughters.
Liberated from the household and parental obligations that had theretofore been the weak glue of their relationship, the Humes' marriage promptly falls apart. Fay's overweening selfishness and Charley's pathetic ineffectiveness as a husband come to the fore, resulting in infidelity, public scandal, and death.
Meanwhile, Jack falls in with a local UFO cult peopled by Marin County housewives. (PKD devotees will recognize the cult's leader, Claudia Hambro, as an incarnation of the perennial dark-haired girl).
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