The Man in the High Castle

Philip K. Dick
Reading Order: Book 8
Categories: 2019, Stuart Browning
The Man In The High Castle
Pages: 274
Suggested By: The Original Manchester Book Group
Date Started: February 13, 2019
Date Finished: February 17, 2019
Reason Book was Chosen: This book was chosen by The Original Manchester Book Group for discussion at our March 2019 meeting. This was selected from the genre "Novels with a Political Theme".
My Thoughts

I’ve read this twice in the space of 3 years, interestingly both times I finished reading in the February of that year (2017 and 2019).  This time around I read it for my book club under the genre “Novels with a Political Theme”.

I’m not sure if I took anything new away from it and although I tend to enjoy alternative histories this seems very dated now.  The book was published in 1962 and set in the same year, fifteen years after an alternative ending to World War II where the forces of Nazi Germany and Japan won.

The story follows three main protagonists; Robert Childan (an Americana antique shop owner in San Francisco), Frank Frink (a secretly Jewish-American) recently fired who sets up a business making handcrafted jewellery and his ex-wife Juliana who works as a judo instructor in Colorado.  To be honest the storylines the book follows aren’t really that interesting and can sometimes be quite confusing due the business transactions between the parties.  Of the three I enjoyed Julia’s storyline the most, she was trying to find the author of “The Grasshopper Lies Heavy” which depicts an alternate history in which the Allies won WWII and her journey to meet him is very intoxicating.

I particularly enjoyed the use of I Ching throughout the novel which the characters used to help them form their decisions, it kind of vaguely reminded me of The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart although not in such a dramatic fashion.

In conclusion although I’ve enjoyed this both times around I can now safely say I’ve never read it again, it’s very dated, clumsily put together and although interesting I’d much rather Philip K. Dick would have focused on the immediate aftermath of WWII and how the new world was determined i.e. how Japan and Germany decided on how the world would be governed and by whom and how that came into effect.

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