The Man in the High Castle was published in 1962 and tells the story of several characters (mostly) living in San Francisco, in a world where Germany and Japan won the Second World War. In the neutral buffer zone between the Nazi-controlled west and Japanese-controlled East, lives the author of a best-selling underground novel that depicts a world where the Allies won the war.
The progression of the story is very subtle and steady, at first, I was curious as to where it would lead, but as events unfolded I could see where certain aspects of it were going. There were still some elements I did not expect but made sense once they occurred. It follows half a dozen characters as they go through their everyday lives; it’s a story about the every-person, not the game-changers.
The writing and wording is very easy to follow, I could get a real sense of what each character was feeling, and their mental state at each point in the story. The story is heavily character-focused, with descriptions of the world coming from them, rather than an omnipresent narrator.This, therefore, leaves a lot of room for the reader to imagine certain aspects of the world and add their own detail.
The Man in the High Castle would be an excellent place to start for anyone interested in Philip K. Dick’s writing as it doesn’t get as metaphysical or mind-bending as some of his other books (Ubik for example). However, that is not to say a seasoned reader of his work will not enjoy it, as I did, and is an interesting glimpse into a world that could have been.