The Man in the High Castle
There are really very few things I know about writing – or, to be more accurate – typing away some silly posts for myself and for the few people who read them. But I’ve learned that there’s no point in forcing yourself to write something. Sometimes, it’s really not meant to be, and it’s better to write nothing, than something just for the sake of it. But in these 3+ years of doing the blog, it’s grown on me, and I started to feel like I’m never quite finished with a book if I don’t write about it. Good, bad – I now need the closure. So, for the past few days, I’ve been wondering, somewhere in the back of my mind, what to write about this book – and I never quite found the place to begin. It’s happened before – when I really like something I get tongue-tied (or keyboard-tied, if you will) and nothing comes out. At least, nothing useful/coherent. So there you go, this time, I give up, and I write this post only for that sense of closure.
It really is a great book, and you should read it – not just for the basic setting, but for the characters as well. In my very limited experience with sci-fi/alternative histories the people populating this novel felt the most real, most rounded-up to me. Robert Childan’s ambiguous relationship with the Japanese, his hypocrisy, uneasiness and ultimate self-hatred are plausible consequences of a totalitarian regime; the “novel within the novel” exploring a universe where the Nazis lost WWII holds up an interesting mirror image (especially since it’s not a recount of our own reality, but really another alternative),and the idea of guiding lives by the I Ching can open up even more discussions. Every choice sets up various cogs in motion that lead to a conclusion; and thus every choice closes up all other roads. But there could be millions of alternative realities for any of us, each slightly different, each branching out from one choice or another – and that can be a fun thing to contemplate or a rabbit hole from which you’d never emerge. It’s a book that raises questions, a book that offers you only a peek into its world – no real beginning or ending, just a slice of life happening.