The Man In The High Castle by Philip K. Dick — Reviewed by Guy Portman
After the allies lost World War II America was divided in half. The Germans occupied the east, the Japanese the west. It is now 1962. Robert Childan is the owner of an Americana antiques shop in San Francisco. He is obsessed with the oracle, the I, Ching. Childan’s client, Americanaphile Mr Tagomi, is planning to purchase a gift from the shop for a visiting Swedish industrialist. Childan discovers that a metalwork company is supplying him with counterfeits. The company have just sacked a secret Jewish-American called Frank Frink, whose ex-wife Juliana is in a relationship with an Italian truck driver called Joe Cinnadella. Juliana and Joe go on a road trip to meet Hawthorne Abendsen, the author of the hugely popular and controversial novel, The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, which is ironically set in a world where the allies have won The War.
If my synopsis seems rather confusing that is because The Man In the High Castle is exactly that. This is a convoluted work entailing several plotlines and a confounding conclusion. Whilst this alternative history dystopia boasts a fascinating concept, in this reader’s opinion excessive time is devoted to unimportant details, including observing Childan trying to decode the Japanese psyche.