Dec 042012

Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said, by Phillip K Dick

Synopsis: Living in a police state, a famous and genetically superior man is suddenly stripped of his identity and erased from everyone’s memory. As far as he can tell, he never existed. He struggles to regain his past and avoid the attention of the corrupt authorities.

Brief Book Review: It’s hard to evaluate this book, because it isn’t really a novel. There isn’t a plot really… there’s just a thing that happened. A lot of words are used on introspection and silent despair without a lot happening. When things do happen, they often don’t make much sense. The writing itself is clumsy, and none of the characters are very likable. That being said, all this seems to work together to make this book a compelling and fascinating exploration of helplessness. It may very well be worth it for that alone. Some books try to make you feel a certain way, this one tricks you into it while you aren’t looking, and does so well. However overall – Not Recommended.

Club Review: And yet, for book club purposes, this book is ideal. While none of the characters are likable, they’re all memorable, and their actions can spark quite a lot of discussion. Criticism, empathy, dissection – all are likely to be applied to any single character, sometimes all three from a single reader. It is a disjointed and confusing narrative, and as such it leaves a lot of room for interpretation. It is this sort of fertile soil that nowadays leads to fan theories and fanfiction, and it makes for great discussion. Many of the things that make it a poor novel actually make it quite a good Book Club book. It’s likely that most readers will be ambivalent about the book and unsure what to make of it, but there will be plenty to talk about. Recommended.

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