Philip K Dick
Completed around 4/5/2013, reviewed 4/13/13.
SPOILER ALERT! This review contains a spoiler to the ending. DO NOT READ this if you intend to read the book.
I enjoyed this book. It was a great example of an alternative universe novel. The plot takes place in a universe where the WWII axis powers have one. The
US, was well as other nations, are divided
between Germany, Japan, and Italy, with a few neutral
exceptions. The story follows several
interconnected characters who are exposed to a book about an alternative
universe where the Allies won.
I loved the alternative universe within the alternative universe device. I was confused, though, at the great reveal at the end. HERE'S THE SPOILER ALERT: Juliana Frink and the book’s author reveal that the book is the truth, not the reality around them. I found this to be highly confusing. My only thought was that at that point, the characters are made self-aware, that they are merely characters in a book about an alternative universe. I’m not sure this is correct, but that’s how I read it.
My only problem was the grammar of the narration by the Japanese characters, and the speaking of the American characters in the Japanese accent. It made it occasionally difficult for me to follow.
I give this book 3 stars because while I thought it was a great universe, I found the characters all a bit boring. As described in another blog, the book well describes the despair of being a conquered people. But I think that is what made them a bit boring. Once I met the characters, I wasn’t really interested in what else happened to them. I was distracted by all the subplots which did not follow the journey of Juliana.