Tuesday, April 5, 2016

An idea without form

The Man in the High Castle
By Philip K Dick

World War II has given inspiration to a variety of writers, particularly the alternative history ones who are always on the look out for the shock value of seeing the Nazi flag flying high in New York City. The Man in the High Castle, now famous after all these years because of Amazon's adaptation of the same name, is another such one, although the real focus is the Japanese puppet state in partitioned America. And while the idea is very good - a cold war between the world's superpowers, Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan - the execution was pretty sloppy.

The writing style is interesting in that it mimics what may have been the state of English under Japanese domination. The possible obsession for old American artifacts is probably quite accurate as well, given the parallels with the British obsession for old Indian stereotypes. But the book eventually has to move from the semantics to the actual story line, and there it fails... miserably. It is anticlimatic and incoherent. The last couple of pages is quite a nightmare to decipher, and truly fails the reader. What a pity. 

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