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Confessions Of A Crap Artist

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  3,533 Ratings  ·  199 Reviews
Confessions of a Crap Artist is one of Philip K. Dick's weirdest and most accomplished novels. Jack Isidore is a crap artist -- a collector of crackpot ideas (among other things, he believes that the earth is hallow and that sunlight has weight) and worthless objects, a man so grossly unequipped for real life that his sister and brother-in-law feel compelled to rescue him ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 220 pages
Published 1979 by Magnum Books (first published 1975)
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Dec 27, 2012 Lyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Confessions of a Crap Artist by Philip K. Dick is not a normal, wildly imaginative science fiction offering from one of the most accomplished, innovative and influential science fiction writers of the modern era. It is instead a novel of complicated interpersonal family dynamics. But it is Dick’s voice, his resonate, edgy and unorthodox observant style that lends the book its greater depth.

The reader is frequently reminded of PKD’s penchant for the unusual, and this dicey undertone is what prev
Pavel Kravchenko
I've never read a book about so many irredeemable assholes before. There really isn't a single character anyone in their right mind would care about here. Children, maybe, but PKD pretty much completely ignores them, milking the assholes instead for all they are worth. It got really hard to read towards the middle, not so much because it was tedious or badly written, but because I wanted to rip the book to shreds every couple of minutes after something some asshole said or thought. I can't imagi ...more
Aug 14, 2016 ΠανωςΚ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Δεν είχα ξαναδιαβάσει Φίλιπ Κ. Ντικ. Λόγω του (καταπληκτικού) τίτλου και μόνον, προτίμησα να ξεκινήσω με αυτό, αντί του γνωστότερου και πιο αναγνωρισμένου Ουμπικ. Αποδείχθηκε σωστή επιλογή, κυρίως γιατί πρόκειται για ένα από τα λίγα έργα του Ντικ που δεν είναι Ε.Φ. - που δεν την πολυσυμπαθώ ή, πιο σωστά, δεν την καλογνωρίζω.
Διασκεδαστικό και σκοτεινό ταυτόχρονα, με όλες τις αμερικανικές ψυχώσεις της δεκαετίας του '50, ένα οικογενειακό δράμα στην ουσία, με ολίγη από ψυχολογία και εσχατολογία. Μι
Oct 23, 2007 Logan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not a sci-fi novel, despite the hip, design-centric, adroid-esque cover. That cover is complete fucking bullshit.

Anyway, this one's more of a relationship/ family drama. I felt that it was readily apparent in this book that its author was trying to work things out. I don't know if that means it was heavy-handed, or if I've been influenced by what I've heard about PK Dick, but that's that.

There's lots of introspection, and false epiphanies, as well as real epiphanies, and a lot of philos
Jan 23, 2008 Wifey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: crap artist
There's a great French film based on this book, too. Check out "Barjo"
wow, a difficult book to assess.

you wouldn't think there'd be that much difference between how people thought in the 1950s and now. i mean, it's not like it was the Middle Ages or something.

but it might as well have been, in so many respects.

since you can read the summary above, i won't bore you with it. instead, i'll tell you what's difficult (and also well-done) about this novel.

first off, as a feminist, the misogyny is like a bullhorn in the face. you can't escape it--even the female characte
Sean Wilson
Nov 09, 2015 Sean Wilson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
We are all crap artists

It's not his usual postmodern, mind-bending science fiction but Philip K. Dick still manages to throw all his trademark, mind-bending themes in his realist novel. We still bare witness to Freudian psychology, paranoia, philosophical musings and an array of colourful characters, including a foul-mouthed narcissistic wife, an insecure and abusive husband, and our simple-minded and easily led crap artist. A novel of two halves, one of a small-town Californian domestic drama,
Jul 31, 2007 Diana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: old-favorites
I loved this book - I think I may have read it at least 5 times. I have read almost all of Philip K. Dick's novels and this is by far my favorite.
Aug 24, 2013 Marc rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's almost like Dick works out all his frustrations with men, women, and marriage in this novel. Really had no idea what to expect, although I was surprised both by the lack of any real science fiction element and by how much I enjoyed it. I think the continuing change of perspective really helped. Hard not to see this as highly autobiographical in some parts, although I don't know enough about his marriages to speak with any authority. Take away: Everybody is a crap artist--it just takes some ...more
Feb 01, 2012 Nick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I had not read this Dick novel previously, and found myself experiencing cognitive dissonance since much of it takes place in rural Marin county, a real place, and much of that action is surreal without being science fictional: no Mars, no radioactive dust, no androids, and yet somehow this is of a piece with novels like "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" and "Martian Time Slip". As I read and reread Dick, I am becoming persuaded that he is one of the most significant American novelists of t ...more
Jan 05, 2017 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
" doesn't seem to me that I should be the only person who has to bear the onus of believing an admittedly ridiculous notion. All I want is to see the blame spread around fairly."

And thus we have Confessions of a Crap Artist - the novel that makes transparent all of the little insanities that we conceal so well! Obviously, being a Philip K. Dick novel, it's a little out there - even the most normal character, Nathan Anteil, somehow manages to find himself in love with the most conventionally
Silvia Sette Lune
Mar 17, 2014 Silvia Sette Lune rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
"Confessioni" è uno di quei pochi lavori di Dick che non rientra nel genere sci-fi, al contrario, non c'è contesto più ordinario in cui possa essere ambientata la vicenda. Siamo nella California anni '50, quartieri residenziali, contesto familiare. Gli elementi in ballo sono pochi ed essenziali: quattro personaggi, due o tre ambienti al massimo e un intreccio lineare.
Nella semplicità del micro-cosmo che ci si presenta davanti i concetti e le tematiche dell'autore trovano ancora più risalto.

Sep 09, 2013 Tom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I knew Little of Philip K .Dick until I started university, but one of the modules on my course in popular culture required us to study Blade Runner, and the book it was based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. I found some of the popular culture modules mind numbing particularly the philosophy of adorno and horkheimer culture industry for example. However one of the bonus’s that came from the course was discovering Phillip as an author, and I have been a fan ever since. This was a book I h ...more
Jan 29, 2008 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(written 4-05)

I saw the movie based on this book first - "Barjo" - it was in French I think. It was a strange movie, of course, but I still remember the music because Greg and I sang along. Fay is the crazy controlling sister of Jack, who is also crazy. In the movie I thought she had homoerotic moments with Gwen, but in the book it is just Nat she has an affair with. This story is so unique it is really worth reading.

"Can we know our own motives? He thought, Actually a human being is an unfoldi
Jack Stovold
Jun 28, 2012 Jack Stovold rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My Philip K. Dick Project

Entry #17 - Confessions of a Crap Artist (written Mid 1959, published 1975)

Confessions of a Crap Artist contains Dick’s most assured and confident writing yet, at turns both bracing and hilarious. After the disappointing Dr. Futurity, a throwback to Dick’s earlier, clunkier style, this book was a joy to read. This is the only “straight", non-sci-fi novel of Dick’s to be published during his lifetime, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s easily the best of the bunch so far
Misanthropy, misogyny, racism, self-involved miserable people...I actually made it 2/3 of the way but threw it down when one of these sad-sack characters murdered a horse. Not the world I want to inhabit. And not a vision of the world I believe in.

I need an antidote and so now am going to re-read Maya Angelou's "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings."
Jun 25, 2012 Kyle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Dick is a bit out of his element here. Constrained by a setting which is almost believable, all of Dick's fantastic talents shrivel up and die under the weight of a close approximation of humdrum reality. This is Dick's pathetic attempt to write in someone else's voice: the voice of a successful mainstream writer that he had no hope of becoming.

I am reminded of a story I read about Astor Piazzolla, the brilliant progenitor of Tango Nuevo, who studied under the inestimable tutor of a whole genera
Ryan Bailey
Jun 19, 2016 Ryan Bailey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was not even a little bit what I expected, and might be my favorite PKD book so far (although I have three more sitting on my To Read shelf).
The most interesting thing about this book is that it contained no sci fi. This could have been a true account from our actual world in the 1950s. I didn't know PKD wrote any books like that. It was more an analysis of the deeper inner workings of a few interesting characters, more like something Nick Hornby would write.
The second most interesting thi
Scott Holstad
Okay, okay, I give up! I just can't read Philip K Dick's "mainstream" fiction. It's too awful. Too boring. Too terrible. Too mundane. This book is supposed to be the best of his mainstream novels, and I gave it a chance, I really did. I made it 81 pages into it, but had to give up. Jack Isidore is supposedly fairly crazy, but it's his sister and brother-in-law, Kay and Charley, who are actually nuts. This is a novel about relationships, but there isn't one redeemable character in it. No one you ...more
Feb 23, 2015 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In many ways, Confessions of a Crap Artist is an extended riff on one of the ideas that obsessed Philip K. Dick his entire life: that everyone lives in their own personal universe. Whatever we think we know about other people's inner lives, the reality is inescapably and unimaginably different and unknowable. (But that didn't stop him from making a career out of imagining other people's inner universes). Everyone is the hero of their own story, and everyone is an unreliable narrator.

I was strang
Samantha (AK)
This book has one of the best opening lines I have ever seen in my life.

As usual, PKD killed it. Despite being his only published non-SF novel, that doesn't in any way make it bad. It's a laugh-or-cry suburban melodrama where the hilarity only just outweighs the angst, and the guy in the tinfoil hat may just be the sanest guy in the room.

This is a book about horrible people doing horrible things. PKD is at the finest level of scathing social commentary I've seen in a while, and the lack of sugar
Mar 07, 2012 Denis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A "non-genre" novel by PKD. The only one of several he wrote during the fifties to be published during his life-time - though twenty or so years after it was written.

This was a revelation. I was born in the late sixties so only became 'aware' in the seventies, eighties and beyond... Were there many books like this written in the fifties? Was this the norm? Is this what it was really like in California during that time? This ain't no "American Graffiti" type story. No "Leave it to Beaver" or "Os
Jul 22, 2014 Gary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From the first sentence onward, you know you are not listening to an ordinary story written by an ordinary writer.

This is my first introduction to the author, Philip K. Dick, and it won't be my last. He's noted for his science fiction and this story only skirts around the edges of that genre. Things aren't what they appear and he makes you realize that the normal (the sister Fay) is more crazy than the bizarre (Jack, the brother and crap artist).

The story is a a pure pleasure to listen to. The o
Apr 13, 2012 Tom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fine and underrated novel from Philip K. Dick, here writing outside of his science fiction comfort zone, and he shows that California in the 1950s could be just as fucked up as California in the (then) far-off 2000s. The shifting points of view (4 characters take turns moving the story forward) are beautifully handled, and there's plenty to disturb and amuse.
Non mi aspettavo che mi coinvolgesse (in crescendo) così tanto. Merito senza dubbio della scrittura, scorrevole e appropriata, e della scelta di utilizzare più punti di vista nel raccontare la storia.
Consiglio: non leggete assolutamente l'introduzione.
Jul 01, 2010 Ensiform rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Possibly Dick's best novel. It was intriguing in character development and psychology, and fairly innovative in style (for example, having three narrators). The sympathy of the reader is directed with skill through the course of the novel. Great!
Eddie Watkins
May 01, 2008 Eddie Watkins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-fiction
The only "straight" novel of Dick's I've read. It's also one of his best. Reading this you can see that his ability to portray a specific time and place through the intimate portrayal of his character's thoughts and habits is what makes his "out there" novels so great.
Jul 30, 2015 Luis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Libro raro, pero raro raro, un extraño ejemplo de ciencia ficción con una técnica super lejana de cualquier cosa que no sea Philip K. Dick, creo que su talento es presentar personajes incoherentes (enfermos mentales, realmente) de una forma muy coherente.
Jan 06, 2013 Lovro rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the idea of a multiple first person novel, but to be honest I really was not in the mood to read a novel about 4 disfunctional, crazy people.
Misti Rainwater-Lites
This is the best novel I have read in months. Drew me in right away, would not let me go. Damn fine piece of literature.
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Philip K. Dick was born in Chicago in 1928 and lived most of his life in California. In 1952, he began writing professionally and proceeded to write numerous novels and short-story collections. He won the Hugo Award for the best novel in 1962 for The Man in the High Castle and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best novel of the year in 1974 for Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said. Philip K. Di ...more
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“The household was pervaded by this atmosphere of a calm adult woman and a man who gave into animal impulses. She reported to him in great detail what her analyst ... said about his binges and his hostility; she used Charley's money to pay Dr. Andrews to catalog his abnormalities. And of course Charley never heard anything directly from the doctor; he had no way of keeping her from reporting what served her and holding back what did not. The doctor, too, had no way of getting to the truth of what she told him; no doubt she only gave him the facts that suited her picture, so that the doctor's picture of Charley was based on what she wanted him to know. By the time she had edited both going and coming there was little of it outside her control.” 14 likes
“She makes life over, he realized. She controls life, whereas I just sit on my can and let it happen to me.” 12 likes
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