The Man in the High Castle is a 1962 novel by the famous science fiction writer Philip K. Dick. It is a alternate history novel, a novel in which historical events are different from how they really developed, in this case we talk about the Second World War, which was won by the Axis.
The war is
now over since fifteen years, Hitler is not the Fuhrer, Africa is almost uninhabited, the Jews are still discriminated and, above all, the world is divided in two between Japan and Germany, but also Italy has had its share of territory. Even the United States is divided: the east is Japan’s, that west of Germany and in the middle it’s neutral zone, called Rocky Mountains. This is the world in which this book is set and it is very beautiful the way in which Dick builds it, making it understood. Dick does not say: “this went to Japan, that to Germany”, no. It makes us understand through the characters. Very beautiful.
And let’s move on to the characters. There is no a protagonist, there are many. Tagomi, Japanese official; Frank Frink, a Jew hiding from the Nazis; Juliana, Frank’s ex-wife who ran away; Robert Childan, American seller who hopes to approach the Japanese; Baynes, Swedish entrepreneur and Joe Cinnadella, a young Italian soldier who makes a love affair with Juliana.
The whole story of the novel will pass through all of them. All of them will be linked to world politics, who due to secret operations and subterfuge, who through a book: The grasshopper lies heavy. Book written by Hawthorne Abendsen, also a history alternate. In fact this book – which is defined by historical fiction characters – narrates a world in which the Second World War was won by the Allies. Dick often compares these two worlds-the real world and that of the book-two different worlds, which contrast. And through this book there are many provocations: Hitler compared to Martin Luther, the racism that is solved in America, the cold war.
Through this meta-book Dick tells us openly that we should never take anything for granted, because no one can know what can happen. And above all it causes us to understand what is really real. Is the book really just historical fantasy or is it true? Is the literature true? Obviously yes. He criticizes contemporary American society in so many ways, but above all on one aspect: racism, a very important theme in this book.
I liked the inclusion of the I Ching, a kind of oracle that everyone seems to use to make the decision, almost a superior presence.
Of course I loved Dick’s style, which is very tall and refined. It does not seem like a genre novel, and even if it is, it definitely comes out of the box. For this I recommend it, it is a reading not to be missed, absolutely!
The review of this fantastic book ends here. I remind you to comment for anything you want to say, to put I like and share, and finally to follow the blog: you can do it on wordpress, with the e-mail or putting I like the facebook page.