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Search tags: The-Man-in-the-High-Castle
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review 2017-04-06 02:53
Review: The Man in the High Castle
The Man in the High Castle - Philip K. Dick

“Huh?”  That was pretty much my reaction at the end of this book.  The first and only other book I’ve read by Philip K. Dick was Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?.  I thought that book had a weird ending, but I think The Man in the High Castle out-weirded that one.

 

The general setting is in an alternate reality in which the Axis powers won World War II instead of the Allied powers. Japanese culture is dominant in the U.S.  Nearly everybody speaks and thinks in broken English and uses the I Ching to make decisions and answer questions, while Germans are apparently all obsessed with the Nazi ideal.  In other words, I thought the depiction of other cultures in this book seemed stereotyped, and the choppy English quickly became tiresome to read.

 

I think this book may have been intended more as a vehicle to express ideas than to tell a story.  There are interesting ideas here, and some clever plot elements, but the story itself felt pretty thin to me.  There are several plot threads, one or two of which could be considered the “main plot”, but there weren’t really any tangible results of the events in the book.

 

The main characters weren’t very likeable.  Juliana was just plain loco.  I hated Childan, to the point that I may have told him I hated him out loud a couple of times while reading.  I warmed up to a couple of the others later in the book after I understood them better, but I didn’t get attached to any of them or care much what happened to them.

 

Of the two PKD books I’ve now read, I definitely preferred Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?.  Its story interested me more, whereas I was occasionally bored by this one.  I did enjoy some aspects of it, but not consistently.  As a side note, this book has several German phrases that aren’t translated within the book, so it was nice to be able to highlight the phrases on my Kindle and instantly get a translation.

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text 2016-05-12 00:11
May (e) book haul
A Murder in Time: A Novel - Julie McElwain
Sleeping Giants - Sylvain Neuvel
The Star-Touched Queen - Roshani Chokshi
The Square Root of Summer - Harriet Reuter Hapgood
Don't You Cry - Mary Kubica
And I Darken - Kiersten White
The First Time She Drowned - Kerry Kletter
The Man in the High Castle - -Brilliance Audio on CD Unabridged-,Jeff Cummings,Philip K. Dick

Lots of new purchases this month guys!

A Murder in Time: A Novel - Julie McElwain 

Sleeping Giants - Sylvain Neuvel 

The Star-Touched Queen - Roshani Chokshi 

The Square Root of Summer - Harriet Reuter Hapgood 

The First Time She Drowned - Kerry Kletter 

 

And a couple of netgalley titles:

Don't You Cry - Mary Kubica 

And I Darken - Kiersten White 

 

Currently Reading Updates:

I finally watched the series "The man in the high castle" and it was really good. Naturally, I got both the book and the audio. I'm at the beginning but there are so many differences already.

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review 2016-03-14 20:32
The Man in the High Castle - Philip K. Dick

My roommate started watching the TV adaptation of this book, which I remembered reading for a class in college. I dug it out of an old box to give it another whirl... and was really okay with putting it in my donation pile when I finished. It's certainly an interesting story, but I wasn't very engaged and didn't feel particularly excited to pick it up. It's never a good sign when reading starts to feel like a chore.

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review 2016-03-11 03:42
The Man in the High Castle
The Man in the High Castle - Philip K. Dick

This book was my first exposure to any of Phillip K. Dick's works, and I have to say that just based on this one, I'm not terribly impressed. That's not to say that I feel this is a bad work by any means, and perhaps I'm missing some greater meaning here, but I simply don't get some of the fanfare surrounding it.

 

Overall, I felt that this was a distinctly average book. For much of my time spent reading it, I wasn't terribly engrossed, nor did I find myself bored. In certain places I struggled to remain interested, and it honestly felt like a work with a squandered potential. That may be due to a time period gap; I can certainly see how this book would have been much more relevant in its own time than it is today, and the very bare concept itself would certainly intrigue audiences more that much closer to the post WW2 era.

 

That being said, I still can't help but feel as though I'm missing something. Themes dealing with racism, religion, and the human condition itself are always welcome reads, but those some couldn't carry a story that was mostly dry. Only the strength of the book's final act, which is the only portion of the book during which anything of note happens, saved it from feeling like a complete waste of time. I didn't care for any of the characters in this one, and would merely call it average.

 

From me, this gets 3 stars.

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review 2016-02-17 06:40
The Man in the High Castle: Or, If the I-Ching wrote a book about WWII
The Man in the High Castle - Philip K. Dick

This is one of those books that has been around long enough in the cultural consciousness that I'm not sure I have much to add to the discourse. I will say this book wasn't quite what I expected. It is difficult to read in places, as the racism element is an important part of the book (which I expected), but it is also steeped in the I-Ching, eastern philosophy, and mysticism (which I did not expect). There are numerous themes running through the heart of this story, and many of them come from the I-Ching itself. There are also strong themes of duplicity, both in the characters (several people lead double lives and have assumed names) and in their actions, which ties in with the Taoist motifs. Even the story itself has a story within, and likely more stories inside of that, layering out into infinity. Questions of interpretation and perception are at the core of the book, which leads me to believe there are likely many differing ways to read the text should one be interested in pulling it apart.

The plot is a loose thread that winds its way through the lives of several characters. Some of these people are deeply involved and others significantly less so, but through all of them you get a multi-faceted view of the world Dick had created. The way the plot is so loosely woven, and the way the book draws to a bit of a non-conclusion, would usually be a huge deal breaker for me. Yet for some reason I remained intrigued even after I finished and set the book down. Even when I found the book frustrating or uncomfortable I kept returning to it.

To put it all another way:
At one point in the story a character is given an object, and his first reaction to it is one of borderline disgust. He finds it flawed, somewhat ugly, and ill crafted. Yet the more he sits with this object and reflects upon it the more the object seems to take on meaning and life. He discovers value and beauty in it. It encapsulates Wu to him. This is very much how I felt about this book. Did I love it? No. Did I enjoy my time in the world Dick has created, or bond to the characters? Not overly. But did I find some value and illumination in it? Yes, I did. I'm thankful I read it even as I am also thankful to leave this particular vision of reality far behind.

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