What would the world be like if the wrong side won WWII? Philip K Dick’s The Man in the High Castle suggests what that society might look like under Nazi & Japanese rule.
Speculative fiction is a truly fascinating genre of literature. Imaging what life would be like if the tables were turned and roles exchanged is always an interesting activity, allowing you to explore what it would be like if caucasians were the suppressed race, if women ruled the world or if the Axis won World War II. Philip K Dick’s The Man in the High Castle is set in an America ruled by the Japanese and the German governments, where the few Jews that are left are forced into hiding and Caucasian Americans are at one of the bottom rungs of the social ladder.
I always approach Modern Classics with caution as they don’t tend to agree with my speedy reading pace. I usually find a lot of things end up going over my head which certainly would have been the case had I not made an effort to take in The High Castle carefully. There are a few story lines as a handful of characters with interlinking lives are followed but it was the less military and political plot lines that stuck with me.
The ending felt a little abrupt and I really wanted to read more, which is definitely a good sign from a book! There seemed to be so much more of this world to explore and it sets your imagination going to carry on the story by yourself. In all honesty it’s a difficult book to review as it does depend on your own reactions to historical events, particularly with the controversial way America ‘won’ the war in reality being omitted and transferring guilt onto other Allies.
I have such conflicting feelings on this book; on the one hand I enjoyed the storylines with a more personal touch I just couldn’t keep focused on the more political/military aspects. I do think it’s the type of book politics and modern history buffs would enjoy though so if you’re stuck on a present for one this could be a winner.