emma's Reviews > The Man in the High Castle

The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
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it was amazing
bookshelves: sci-fi, non-ya, historical, classics, owned, unpopular-opinion, recommend, reviewed, 5-stars, favorites-2018

"We do not have the ideal world, such as we would like, where morality is easy because cognition is easy. Where one can do no right with no effort because he can detect the obvious."

A few years ago, I watched the first season-ish of the TV show adaptation of this book. Here is what I remember:
- scary Nazi man with family
- San Francisco
- the phrase "the man in the high castle" uttered very ominously
- lady leaving her husband, or the home where she lived with him or something
- torture stuff
- a VERY smooth move performed on aforementioned lady by a non-husband man in which she was crying and sitting on the curb and he, in one motion, wrapped her in his jacket and also IN HIS ARMS!!!

As you can tell, 17-year-old me was most impacted by that last one.

What I don't remember:
- an in-depth exploration of morality as it relates to empires, and whether any one side of a war is better than the other; whether it really matters who wins a war, or if we'd be wrapped up in moral complexity and evil and bigotry either way; and how and if humans can steer themselves toward the moral right, and if it really matters if it does.

This book is a game changer for me. At first, I didn't like it. It was slow, and racist, and sexist, and the biases show in it probably even outside of the ways they're intended to.

But...the only way I can describe it is that this book opens up. You know how sometimes you're listening to a song and it gets big? Hannah Hunt by Vampire Weekend, or Titus Was Born by Young the Giant. Just a normal song, and then suddenly - huge and loud and overpowering.

This book did that. It takes everything it's been doing for 150 pages or so, and shows you that something else, something huge, has been happening all along.

I felt really overcome when I finished this book, which was about 8 seconds ago. So I still do.

I might raise this rating.

Bottom line: This book is tough and difficult and punishing, but it is worth the work.
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Reading Progress

October 8, 2018 – Shelved
October 22, 2018 – Started Reading
October 23, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

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Tanner Jensen Is this your first Philip K. Dick novel? Because this is a great one to help gain a feel for his type of work. In my opinion, at least.


emma Tanner wrote: "Is this your first Philip K. Dick novel? Because this is a great one to help gain a feel for his type of work. In my opinion, at least."

it is my first! i added Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? to my to-read list


message 3: by Sander (new) - added it

Sander Hendriks My personal favorite novel by Philip K. Dick is Ubik, definitely recommend that one. I saw you added Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep to your to read list which is an awesome book as well, and extra fun if you've seen / loved Blade Runner.


emma Sander wrote: "My personal favorite novel by Philip K. Dick is Ubik, definitely recommend that one. I saw you added Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep to your to read list which is an awesome book as well, and e..."

i haven't seen Blade Runner! (i'm hopeless, i know.) but i'll definitely be trying Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep & i'll have to check out Ubik. thanks for the rec


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