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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The original story of an alternative WWII
This is the perfect book for those new to PKD's work or who have tried reading later, spaced-out novels such as "Valis" and given up. Counterfactual books, both fiction and non-fiction, are all the rage nowadays. So it is difficult when reading this book to remember that when it was published (in 1962, before the Vietnam War) the memories of World War II and the Korean...
Published on 13 April 2004 by Giles Allison

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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fake to end all fakes?
I recall reading this as a teenager. I didn't really understand it then, and revisiting it more than thirty years later was an odd experience, as I expected to find a real classic I'd previously misunderstood. But I didn't. To start with, I'd forgotten how abrupt, terse, and awkward Dick's writing style was back in the early 60s. This is not an easy book to read, or...
Published on 11 Oct. 2011 by Archy


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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The original story of an alternative WWII, 13 April 2004
By 
Giles Allison (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Man in the High Castle (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
This is the perfect book for those new to PKD's work or who have tried reading later, spaced-out novels such as "Valis" and given up. Counterfactual books, both fiction and non-fiction, are all the rage nowadays. So it is difficult when reading this book to remember that when it was published (in 1962, before the Vietnam War) the memories of World War II and the Korean War were still vivid. The premise is this: the Allies lost the war and the USA is split between the "Pacific States of America" in the West, run by the Japanese, and the East Coast, which is part of greater Germany (along with Europe and part of Asia). The background to how this came about is wonderfully teased out over the entire course of the book, and similarly the effects of Nazi rule over most of the globe are glimpsed in chilling off-hand remarks. PKD's world is well-thought out and comprehensive: while the "final solution" has been applied to the whole of Africa, Herbert von Karajan is resident as conductor-in-chief of the New York Philharmonic.
This is PKD's most mainstream, and in many ways his most approachable, published work. It is a wonderful analysis of how ordinary Americans might have behaved under totalitarian rule. There is a power vacuum created by the death of Martin Boorman, but the wider political picture remains a backdrop to the inter-connected stories of a selection of "average joes", all of whom are masterfully characterised. As a nod to the "science fiction" categorisation of the book, at the core of the tale is a bestselling, underground book written by a man who supposedly lives in a high castle in the Rockies, and which is a work of alternative history about how the Allies won the war - is it possible that reality could have been changed in some way? Intriguingly, even the alternative history presented in this book-within-a-book is substantially different to our own received history.
As ever with PKD, there are ambiguities everywhere and no definite resolution, not least to the identity of "the Man in the High Castle" and what his book represents. As previous reviewers have said, this novel examines ideas of oppression, colonialism, and the loss of cultural identity. It is a sometimes bleak work, but not without hope and some typical PKD black humour. This edition, with an insightful introduction, rightly presents the novel as a modern classic.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fake to end all fakes?, 11 Oct. 2011
By 
Archy (ALTRINCHAM, Cheshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Man in the High Castle (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
I recall reading this as a teenager. I didn't really understand it then, and revisiting it more than thirty years later was an odd experience, as I expected to find a real classic I'd previously misunderstood. But I didn't. To start with, I'd forgotten how abrupt, terse, and awkward Dick's writing style was back in the early 60s. This is not an easy book to read, or fathom. I'd forgotten how the plot skitters about from one character to another (a strength, I know, for some readers) and how stereotyped some of them are (he even has a Japanese say "ah so"!) I'd forgotten the Nazi spy plot and how impenetrable it is, altogether.

Dick was always at his best when detailing the actions of the little man, in this case Frank Frink, who loses his job and begins his own jewellery business. He's good when detailing relationship breakdowns - the passages featuring Frank's ex-wife, Juliana, and her quest for the 'Man in the High Castle' were also fascinating. He's always interesting when indulging in religious speculation, here done via the I Ching. But once he strays into a kind of John le Carre spy world involving top ranking (though not historical) Nazis I think he loses his way. He certainly lost me.

Fakes abound in this book, from the fake guns - which can still kill - fake American artifacts, and fake people. No one is who they seem to be: one character is visited by a representative of a Japanese admiral, who isn't really a representative at all; he's Frank Frink. But Frink isn't really Frink, he's Fink, a Jew, and so in great danger from the authorities. And so on. Finally, there's the 'Man in the High Castle' himself, and his curious book, 'The Grasshopper lies heavy' - a title adapted from the Bible - wherein Germany and Japan actually lost the war. But even that book is a fake, in that it is not 'our' world. Maybe this novel too is a fake? Maybe reality itself cannot be trusted, and may be a fake - which was doubtless what Dick was getting at. I just wish he'd written these marvellous ideas down in a more readable way.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More than just an interesting alternate history, 20 July 2011
By 
This review is from: The Man in the High Castle (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
1. The surface story

Set in 1962, fourteen years after the end of a longer WW2 (1939-1948). The victorious Axis Powers (Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, and Italy) carved up the world at the end of the war. The Nazis have turned the Mediterranean into a huge agricultural area, killed the entire population of Africa, and most of the Soviet Union, and are sending spaceships to colonise Mars. The Nazis and Japan, the superpowers, are in a Cold War situation.

'The Man in the High Castle' takes place on the West Coast of the USA. In the book the USA is split into The Pacific States of America - a region run by Japan, and the rest of the US run indirectly by the Nazis. The story follows a collection of characters based in San Francisco who are linked either directly or indirectly and who are getting on with their lives.

I really enjoyed the story, and thought Dick's imagined post-War world was interesting and credible. The narrative is occasionally a bit confusing but always stimulating, particularly the detail of daily life. For example the way Japanese culture and customs have come to inform daily life for indigenous Americans.

There is also another story within the story. A bestselling book called 'The Grasshopper Lies Heavy' - a populist Science Fiction novel in which America and the Allies win the Second World War. This book has become successful and so the Nazis want the author killed. This secondary story hints at some of the themes below the surface of the main narrative.

2. Themes

'The Man in the High Castle' made me think about history, and how it is written by the victors. For example, in the alternate world of this book, Churchill is cast as a war criminal. The book also asks other questions about history. Some of the characters collect, sell and create (or forge) historical memorabilia. Is history innate in memorabilia or just in the mind? As one of the book's characters explains, if we believe that a lighter was in Franklin D. Roosevelt's pocket when he was assassinated it becomes more valuable to a collector despite being just another lighter. Another character claims to be an Italian who fought in North Africa. His account doesn't convince his female companion - rightly so as it turns out. The suggestion is that all history is relative and we can't rely on any single account.

The parallel world of 'The Man in the High Castle' also explores the possibility that there is no single reality. That there exists a multiverse rather than a universe that is at odds with the generally accepted view of just one linear history. None of the characters in the book, like ourselves, are able to perceive it. Although, at one point Nobusuke Tagomi, a Japanese official in Japanese-run San Francisco, finds himself momentarily in another San Francisco in which Japan was defeated by the Allies.

Verdict

My favourite Science Fiction writers (e.g Phillip K Dick and Kurt Vonnegut) re-imagine our world and consider alternate futures and histories, that offer the reader new perspectives. This book is a great example of how effective this is when done well. It's a really interesting book that succeeds on both levels: the "surface" plot that kept me interested throughout, and the more provocative and profound questions that Philip K Dick poses.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fruitless Philosophising, Best Avoided, 13 May 2012
This review is from: The Man in the High Castle (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
Often described as Philip K Dick's best work, I found The Man in the High Castle to be poorly-executed and a little boring. Set in the 1960s in a world where the Nazis and Japanese won WW2, the alternate-history premise is interesting, and was likely original when the book was first published, but may strike the modern reader as a cliche. The retro-futurist twaddle about atomic-powered rocket ships and wonder materials is introduced intrusively, and adds little.

The Man in the High Castle covers a brief period in the lives of four major characters and several minor ones. Their paths occasionally cross but the structure is largely that of several synchronous short stories unfolding in parallel. The tangential connections between the characters' lives and actions may be intended to demonstrate the Taoist principle of interconnectedness, but does not make for a satisfying read. All of the characters narrate their portions of the plot in a peculiar clipped, staccato style. I found their interactions with others unbelievable and stilted. A yoga instructor, for instance, falls in love with an Italian truck driver near the beginning of the book, despite no discernible charisma on his part. He proceeds to terrify and verbally abuse her, but she nevertheless gladly agrees to abandon her life and elope to Denver with him. She, like all of the other major characters, is prone to panic attacks, bizarre behavior and existential crises. (SPOILERS FOLLOW) For instance, she phones the titular Man in the High Castle later in the book, to warn him of a Nazi plot to assassinate him, only to ramble on instead about the I Ching and forgot to tell him about the plot. She realises this after hanging up, berates herself as mad and stupid for forgetting, but decides not to phone him back as it's getting late. (SPOILERS END) All of the major characters display such moments of fecklessness and self-loathing, and by the end of the book I found it difficult to sympathise much with any of them.

As in many of Dick's works, The Man in the High Castle's principle themes are the nature of authenticity, reality and illusion, but Dick has has few new insights to shed here. The debate between relativist 'truth in the eye of the beholder' and absolutist 'underlying but hidden reality' is simply rehashed; and several scenes directly addressing these themes read like excerpts from an undergraduate philosophy seminar. Dick's repeated use of the I Ching - a Taoist fortune-telling device - and espousal of Taoist philosophy may leave readers who do not subscribe to Chinese mysticism frustrated.

Overall, the Man in the High Castle is an unusual book which had the potential for greatness, but is badly let down by a meandering plot, unlikeable characters, stilted dialogue and intrusive, fruitless philosophising. Science fiction has come a long way since this was written. If you're looking for SF which addresses Dick's themes of reality and illusion, I'd recommend avoiding The Man in the High Castle and instead reading The Bridge by Ian Banks, or The City and the City by China Mieville.
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Genius?, 16 Mar. 2008
By 
C. Hardy "Azuretower" (Castle Donnington) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I first read this in my teens, and I think that much of the subtlety passed me by. I have just aquired a new copy from Amazon,decorated with one of the most un-pc book sleeves you are likely to come across ( not a "tube-reader" folks)! I have just finished reading it, and well, this is clearly a work of genius. The book for anyone who hasn't yet read it, contrasts a novel, The Grasshopper Lies Down, about our post-1945 world; within a novel where the Axis powers won the Second World War. Japanese- controlled West Coast of USA is honourable,spiritual and superstitious, and speak in clipped English; whereas the Nazi-controlled Eastern seaboard is materialistic and technologically advanced. Africa has been obliterated as an extension of the Final Solution. Dick's book questions the exact nature of history and reality; that what is real is only relative to the individuals own experience.
I have to say that I didn't wholly understand the ending; if anyone can explain this I would be grateful! I have read lengthy reviews which suggest that the world in Abendson's book is in fact, the real history of the 20th century. But this doesn't work for me.
If you think the previous paragraph contradicts my praise for this book, you are missing the point. It is a process-based novel and the ending is largely irrelevant, in my opinion anyway.
Has this novel ever been made into a film?
If not, why?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Promises much but..., 17 Sept. 2014
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I really wanted to like this book with such a potentially interesting premise, but although there are some interesting moments, the story meanders into an alcove. The author isn't afraid of adopting a rigid style of prose to make a point, but the pseudo-Asian abrupt-speak is jarring. I was ultimately left feeling like I'd wasted my time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars To distract from the ever-present stream of terrible news coming from a change of power in Berlin, 6 Feb. 2015
Japan and Germany, victors of World War II, now rule Earth in an alternative history that may have been. Post-war USA is split into two territories, Africa has been wiped out, and the migration of all undesired European races has been set back thousands of years. In this depressing reality, Philip K Dick presents us with ordinary men and women; the little people whose lives are miniscule in the greater scheme of things. Misunderstandings and alienation are rife between detached and inscrutable Japanese masters and the labour-force of American citizenry. To distract from the ever-present stream of terrible news coming from a change of power in Berlin, many look to the Oracle for reassurance, as well as spiritual guidance.

In the USA a meeting between two prestigious men from Germany and Japan is planned in order to discuss the foreboding implications of new Reich leadership. However, not all hope is lost for there is room for prosperity. A new book called The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, written by the elusive author Abendsen (The Man in the High Tower) finds its way into the hands of people from all walks of life, depicting a future of inspiring and awe-filled optimism where the Allies win World War II, and deliver hope to untold masses across the globe.

Written with an acute understanding of human nature and struggling relationships between preconceptions of master and slave, The Man In The High Castle is a masterpiece of mixed characters, expertly woven into the context of a history that is so believable it’s akin to perceived reality.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Truth, reality and Fate, 11 Oct. 2013
By 
T. T. Rogers - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Man in the High Castle (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
In the world of 'The Man In The High Castle', the Allies lost the Second World War. The victorious Axis powers, Germany, Italy and Japan, control vast swathes of the planet. In North America, the stage for this novel, the two major powers - the Germans and Japanese - fight a shadow war of espial intrigue, which the various characters become caught up in one way or another, direct or indirectly, while grappling with the micro-realities of their lives. The author, Phillip K. Dick, invokes the I-Ching as a literary device to represent the mystery and randomness of Fate and perhaps also to reflect the disenfranchisement and debasement of the Western American characters in the face of their Oriental invaders. Dick also uses the classic meta-fictional device of the `novel within a novel', entitled 'The Grasshopper Lies Heavy', authored by the fictitious `Hawthorne Abendsen'. This is so as to provide his characters with a vision of an attractive-seeming alternative reality, through what, to them, seems a recursive alternate history.

Most people who read this novel regard it as a work of alternate history, but I am not sure that is quite on the mark. The author seems more concerned here with alternative realities than alternate history. Confusingly, the only actual alternate history in this novel is Abendsen's fictitious book, in which the Allies win the Second World War but Britain rather than the USSR emerges as one of the two superpowers. This diversionary reflects the ahistoricity of Dick's entire perspective. The author's only genuine foray into history, such as it is, appears to be more inadvertent than intentional, and might even be something he came to regret. Whatever, Dick presents the reader with an uncomfortable intellectual dilemma concerning the malleability of history and whether we are being told the truth about our collective past. I suspect this was not the intention and that Dick - or his editor - would have preferred that we think about the malleability of the present instead, and wrap ourselves up in all kinds of Eastern mystical twaddle - here we have an alliance of Taoist Orientals, who, of course, are perfectly in mental harmony, balance and synchronicity, in a cold war against a bunch of Occidental Nazis who are, naturally, cold and mechanistic brutes, etc. ad nauseum. When it comes to the past, the author is an even more conventional thinker and falls into the standard-issue "evil Nazis" literary trope. It is this cleave, between Dick's philosophic analysis of, respectively, the past and the present, that I wish to explore in this review.

In all fairness, the Nazi theme is not the real substance of the novel and only provides a compelling backdrop (it could have been, literally, any thematic period in history), but still, Dick would later excuse his failure to produce a sequel on the absurd pretext that he just couldn't bear to go back and read about the Nazis again. The irony of this novel is that the author is the victim of his own abstruseness. No matter how hard he tries, Dick cannot distract us from the contentiousness of history. He rightly wants us to question the basis of reality and identity, but in doing so he is liable to lead the thoughtful, historically-literate reader to the opposite conclusions of those he might have intended. Were the "Nazis" as evil as they are presented, or at all? Are we being told the truth about our history, and thus do we really understand our present? These ironic discursions reflect the wider methods of intellectual control in our culture. The idea of questioning reality and identity is entirely accepted in a confused society. Thus, race-mixing, drug-taking, gender-bending and other distended meanderings are de rigeur and in keeping with our own contemporary cultural climate. But if you question history, or worse still (in the eyes of the cultural commissars) reaffirm standards of truth - which amount to altogether more concrete mental diversions -you are soon in trouble. I have the feeling that Dick would like us to take his pop history of the 20th. century at face value and not question his take on the "evil Nazis", but the thoughtful and inquisitive reader cannot but help `get into trouble' by doing so.

Too often, published history is treated as law when in fact what we `know' (in the sense of what is accepted interpretation) is nothing more than a filtered version of the truth. There is only one truth. That stark fact is uncomfortable for many people who prefer the fashionable postmodern rejection of all that is objective and absolute in the moral, social and academic senses, but the `post-structuralist' school and similar merely represent still more ways of `seeing' or interpreting truth, not the Truth itself. The notion that the German National Socialists were "evil" and that their victory would have led inevitably to a desertified brutocracy is very much in the realm of interpretation and speculation. Part of the problem is that, unfortunately, truth is often confused with `reality'. Reality is related to the truth, but is not the same. Reality is just our experience of truth and is therefore loaded with perspective. In our reality - and that of the characters in this novel - the Nazis were brutes. Yet the author wishes to remind us, correctly, that reality is personal, a perspective or interpretation.

The author achieves this partly through the viewpoint of the characters and their peradventures, and also through various symbolic devices. For instance, we are lead to believe (perhaps implicitly more than explicitly) that 'Abendsen' - the eponymous `The Man In The High Castle' - must live in some kind of grand, palatial residence. In fact, it turns out that he lives in a modest house and has a modest bearing, and one suspects that has always been the case. In another scene, two characters discuss the `historicity' of certain artefacts and the obsession among their Japanese customers for `genuine' Americana: in this case, a couple of cigarette lighters. One of the lighters was used by FDR, the other wasn't, yet they are both alike. How do we come to regard one with greater value than the other? Surely we can't do so on any rational basis as there is literally no material difference between the two cigarette lighters. It's just that one happened to be in the pocket of FDR at some point. As one of the characters, 'Wyndam-Matson', who is running the whole scam, says:- [quote]"...You can't tell which is which. There's no "mystical plasmic presence", no "aura" around it."[unquote] (p.66).

So Dick is trying to convey here the nonsense of placing historical value on artefacts. How is one object more `historic' than another, and more broadly, how can we say what is `real' or `genuine' and what isn't? This is all interesting material, yet at the same time I cannot help but feel that it seems a little facile. The point about the mysticism of historicity is well-made, but Dick seems to be suggesting that history itself is an entirely creative and indeterminate process rather than something `real'. I see this as nothing more than pseud plasticity. The reason people place historic value in objects and like to emphasise genuineness is in order to protect and preserve the past. The fact that an appearance of `genuineness' or `likeness' can be manufactured and faked is immaterial to the point. The characters in the above-mentioned exchange poke fun at the Japanese customers for their naïve fetishism - perhaps rightly so - but if there was no value in historicity, as Dick seems to believe, then we would be one step away from literally inventing the past, which is not actually what happens. It is true that reality is questionable, but the behaviour of the Japanese is, if anything, an example of the opposite pressures, of trying to cling on to the more objective aspects of reality because they know of it. That is, perhaps, a reason for the traditional human totemic affiliation with inanimate objects, and maybe also reflects a kind of fetishism about objects (see, for instance, Marx's `commodity fetishism'), but in the end the explanation of wanting to `hold on to history' and valuing the historicity of the object - "aura" or not - is as simple as acknowledging an important part of history which, if it is to have meaning, should not be permitted to slip into the irrationally extreme relativism that Dick posits.

Dick's heavily relativistic perspective on reality, in which everything is uncertain and entirely personal, has other slippages of logic. It leads to slightly related and equally fashionable, but cringe-worthy notions, such as `the personal is political' and so on. The idea of the `personal is political' I think underlines much of the message in this novel. In Dick's mind, the personal struggles of characters are the political reality and thus reality is whatever is perceived and whatever is the political climate reflects this self-directed reality. These types of self-defining associations of course contain some provisional truths. Nevertheless, they are, at bottom, symptomatic of a certain feeble-mindedness among decadent writers and academics who overlook the mediation between reality and truth. Dick is, to an extent, right: reality is personal - but that is not all there is to reality. Eventually, reality has to have its showdown with the Truth, with the objective world outside of the self, the counterpoise of our inner selves. We all know this intuitively because it is part of a common experience. At some stage, we all have to come to terms with ourselves: to be `true to yourself', a kind of meta-awareness that is characteristic of relative maturity, in which narrow child-like solipsism is abandoned.

Throughout The Man In The High Castle, political issues of identity intrude on characters' private and personal lives and disturb their solipsistic bliss, deciding their respective fates because identity is real - it is `the truth'. In this sense, the social concept of `identity' can be re-conceptualised geologically in terms of a `rock'. Much like individual rock, discrete identities are inchoate and can erode and change in form over time, but the underlying `geologic truth' is unchangeable: human beings organise socially into both imposed and self-directed identities. At different points in this novel, each character has the necessary psychological reckoning as they come up against this rock-like truth. Thus we can see reality as both personal and also as reflecting certain truths about human nature and the way societies work. Identity, then, is the anchor for each character to the more objective realm, a link to reality and the truth of his or her existence. Typically, a character will emerge from a provocative or enlightening dialogue or a period of fugue into a brief few moments of lucidity in which the truth becomes evident.

In the case of `Robert Childan', a white man [but notice the Japanese-type spelling of the surname - in the novel, he speaks and `thinks' `Japanesey' too], and dealer in memorabilia, the revelation comes from interaction with dominant colonising Japanese:-

[quote] "Face facts. I'm trying to pretend that these Japanese and I are alike. But observe: even when I burst out as to my gratification that they won the war, that my nation lost - there's still no common ground. What words mean to me is sharp contrast vis-à-vis them. Their brains are different. Souls likewise."[unquote] [p.112]. 'Childan', though he is white and mentally Western, speaks and even thinks in a Japanese way, albeit he is clearly resisting this sinister acculturation.

`Frank Fink', a crypto-Jewish dealer in memorabilia, but also a proud cultural American, meets his `rock' in the most brutal fashion. `Tagomi', an industrialist, has a weird moment of fugue in which he confronts the `other reality' and its harsh social facts.

Perhaps the most interesting character is `Mr. Baynes', another crypto-Jew who travels to the United States from Germany and meets certain Japanese, including 'Tagomi', eventually revealing certain important, but hitherto concealed, facts about himself. `Baynes' cannot hide his true identity for long. On his arrival in the United States, he makes an explosive and incriminating admission to a complete stranger at the airport, just for the heck of it. Tagomi also senses the double concealment when they finally meet, feeling that something is not quite `German' about `Baynes'. So the truth cannot be hidden forever, even by `Baynes' - I am who I am, you are who you are, we are who we are, and either we will let spill on our own initiative, or we will be found out. Identity is the rock of humanity.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Man in the High Castle, 26 Mar. 2012
By 
Mr. S. A. Johnson (Leicestershire, England) - See all my reviews
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I love science fiction. I also love alternate history. Finally, I have an interest in the Second World War. Clearly then, The Man in the High Castle held something for me. But it certainly wasn't what I was expecting.

The book details a world in which the Axis powers won World War Two and conquered the world. After their victory in 1948, Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan split the USA between them, the East Coast acting as a German puppet state and the West as a Japanese one. The book is set in San Francisco, part of Japanese America (or the Pacific States of America). There are various characters in the story, ranging from Robert Childan- an antique store owner, to Mr Baynes- a Swedish businessman.

There is no "story" in the more traditional sense to be found in this book, it instead concentrates on the lives of various elements of society living underneath the heel of an all-powerful society. One of the most intriguing elements of the novel is a "book-within-a-book" called " The Grasshopper Lies Heavy". This in-novel book also details an alternative history in which *gasp* the Allies win WW2. The most interesting feature of this book is that it portrays the Allies winning the war in a completely different way to in real life. This is one of the most interesting areas of the book, showing that there are never just two ways about anything.

I also found the presentation of society under the yoke of the Japanese to be fascinating, particularly in their deference towards the I Ching, a text consulted to obtain details about the future. Indeed, the whole world of High Castle is very well constructed by Dick, slowly illuminating the watchful reader with small clues about how the war ended the way it did.

One thing that might make the book less attractive to some readers is the total lack of an overarching story. I personally didn't mind this and allowed myself to become immersed in Dick's world and meet his interesting characters. However, I will warn potential readers that the book is primarily concerned with portraying the physical world, rather than a tightly plotted story.

Overall then, it's a recommendation for sci-fi and history fans who will no doubt be enthralled by the strange alternate history presented. But those who are more concerned by books with closer knitted stories, this book is not for you. Instead, I would recommend Robert Harris' Fatherland.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not in anyway bad, but..., 18 Jan. 2011
This review is from: The Man in the High Castle (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
... I think this book is ambiguous, so a four-star rating is what will suit most people, not to bad not too good.

Has I have said, "The Man in the High castle" by Philip K. Dick can be interpreted in more than one way. In this case, I think age has all the influence. For example, for a kid who could read the book (let's say 13 year old), it would mean very little (obviously).

However, I'm not a 13 year old kid, I'm just entering my adulthood (adult in the body, kid in the mind). It's hard to grasp the meaning of the book, it is complex. The interwoven stories of the characters that sometimes meet makes the plot. That plot is arranged to makes us question reality (a little help from the internet) as the characters develop, or just live their lives. More to the end of the book, Mr.Tagomi (a character) buys something made by another character, and after an intense session of concentrating in the object he gets slightly crazy and while going to a zone of the city he doesn't go, he realizes that the so called superiority of the Japanese to all other races is not entirely true. But in another situation, also depicting the same character, he kills some Germans (another race that has won WWII, combined with Japan and Italy) and nothing happens, no arrest, no confusion, just another High-profile German with a paper for Mr. Tagomi to sign saying that nothing wrong has happened. At least an apparent paradox.

For an older person, all I have written might be meaningless because if the book is asking us what's reality, the perception of reality is what will influence our opinion of the book, which change as we old.

This novel should be picked up with careful because what it promise and what it actually has is entirely different, nonetheless it is a highly personal experience, equal to no one. It can be great, good, so-so, bad, fun or simply boring, but the only way you will know is reading it.

Till next time,
M.I.T.H. (ManInsideTheHelm)
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The Man in the High Castle (Penguin Modern Classics)
The Man in the High Castle (Penguin Modern Classics) by Philip K. Dick (Paperback - 6 Sept. 2001)
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