The Man in the High Castle - Philip K. Dick

Truth, she thought. As terrible as death. But harder to find.

The Man in the High Castle is a novel by Philip K. Dick, first published in 1962. The book tells the story of a world where Germany and Japan had won the World War II. America, where the story takes place, is divided into three major territories: East Coast controlled by Japan, West Coast controlled by Germany, and a neutral zone in the middle. The story follows a handful of individuals that lives in this strange world who are loosely connected by a Chinese divination text called I Ching and a novel titled The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, a book that imagines a world where Germany and Japan had lost the war.

As I finished reading this book, one thing came into my mind. The same thing that popped up in my head when I had finished the author's other book, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, and that is: I don't understand what I just read. I don't know if it's because of my unfamiliarity with the history of World War II, especially Nazy Germany, or if the book's just that hard to grasp.

The book relies heavily on assuming that the readers are familiar with Nazy Germany's organizations and how it worked. I find the book's tendency to throw so many real-world figure's names into the book without actually having them be present in the story quite annoying. But they do play some part in characters's decisions, so I can't really protest too much. I guess people that are more familiar with the history or have read William L. Shirer's book (the author's inspired by his book) can appreciate this part better.

But even if you remove that, I still don't understand the central message of this book, if there's any. Some characters got understandable storylines, while the rest are quite confusing. Once again, maybe I'm too dumb to understand the author's writings, but regardless, I think the premise of the book is still very interesting to be explored and I found myself enjoying the experience whenever I'm not too busy scratching my head in confusion.

The Man in the High Castle
Philip K. Dick
First Published
October, 1962