le 5 décembre 2012
Le livre est "renversant" à la fois évidemment par le sujet, une Amérique partagée entre les vainqueurs de la guerre l'Allemagne et le Japon, et par la puissance d'évocation du roman, par son style, son phrasé qui hache la syntaxe comme pour calquer la langue du vainqueur japonais dans ce San Francisco transformé en espace colonisé. Le questionnement de ce qu'est l'histoire et de ce qui est authentique et/ou factice donne à ce roman sa profondeur et sa force d'analyse politique. Tout est problématique : les identités des personnages, les évènements en Allemagne, les objets mêmes car les "véritables antiquités" de l'histoire américaine que vend l'antiquaire sont contaminés par l'existence d'une industrie du faux... Et ce roman central qui donne une version alternative mais fausse de l'histoire où l'Amérique gagne la guerre... Seul ce romancier pour le lecteur pourrait dire selon nous la "vérité" sur le réel mais à y regarder de plus près le détail de sa vision alternative de l'histoire ne colle pas non plus à l'histoire de la seconde guerre mondiale. Un grand bouquin même si le caractère central de la prophétie zen m'a laissé un peu sur ma faim à la première lecture. A la deuxième je suis passé outre et j'étais "dedans" ce foutu texte!
le 2 janvier 2012
P.K Dick dans son meilleur roman (à mon humble avis): destin, métaphysique & manifestation sensible, politique et un intermédiaire, le yi-king comme accès à une autre réalité. Son Anglais n'est pas des plus faciles (phrases tronquées par exemple) mais qui possède ce cachet qui le rend bien plus agréable à lire que sa traduction en Français.
le 23 décembre 2015
This book is an old book, in fact a classic, rather confidential at the time of its publication and even recently for a classic because of its theme, but it has been brought to new awareness in the public because Amazon has just decided to produce an adaptation of it for video streaming. Is it a good decision to bring it back to fame, because it will be fame this time? We’ll see right now why it should not have been kept more or less confidential for more than fifty years.
The genre is difficult because it is RETROSPECTIVE SCIENCE FICTION. Science fiction is supposed to imagine what the future will be or may be according to one or two parameters that are changed in our present. Of course you can cheat the way “Back to the Future” did at least three times and we regret it does not go on at least one more time, but things are what they are and life is a truck full of manure as we all know. Here the author imagine in 1961-62 what the world would have been if in 1945 Germany and Japan had won the war. It is the basic hypothesis so many people work in their minds or in bar and saloon discussions: what the world would be if… And there is no limit to these IF’s. As they say in Paris the Eiffel Tower could be put in a bottle if… and the same for the Empire State Building or the Chrysler Building in New York if … And after every presidential election in the world people imagine what it would be or have been if the loser had won.
But what is the main and basic interest of this book?
First the world is cut in two with Japan on one side and Germany on the other side. The Communists have disappeared due to a strict eradication of all Slavs by Germany. The racial problem has also disappeared by the elimination of all black people in the world and first of all in Africa by Germany. In the same way the holocaust of Jews was continued though here the Japanese refused to cooperate. Imagine the world without Black people even in Africa, with maybe a few survivors surviving since it would be their only function as absolute slaves to be used, and abused, by any one of a paler complexion including children and even babies. I regret the book does not expand on this subject as much as it does on Jews and the few Jews who managed to get out of the influence of Germany and be de facto protected by the Japanese.
But the most frightening part is that Germany is in the hands of the few people who were leading Germany in the war. In spite of the fact that Hitler is dead in 1961, it is his direct lieutenants and underlings that have taken over and are fighting for dominance, Goebbels first of all. The book is quite explicit on what happens in such a totalitarian state that is like a pot with a dozen spiders locked up in it who can only manipulate the crowds of people through the glass wall that protects them (the leaders only) and of course they have their legions outside that can eliminate all those who have to be eliminated for the dominating underling(s) to remain dominant, and at the same time these legions can go on some blood baths of their own for the fun of shedding and drinking the red stuff we call blood and they call a delicatessen though the Jews would consider it to be the soul of man, the divine part of man.
And yet the book is fascinating for other reasons. It explores the very contemplative and oracular culture of the Japanese who have some kind of portable oracle in two volumes they consult regularly to know the meaning of the present and try to cope with the future. It provides the believers with Hexagrams that are both sibylline and enlightening in the shape of Haikus of six or about six lines. But the inner psychology of these Japanese is explored in depth: contemplative, extremely civil and polite, courteous and maybe even servile, but never revealing their true feelings and avoiding expressing any emotion and sensation. Cold for sure and yet tremendously empathetic, but unexpressed and unaired empathy. It is this very quality that makes them resist the German Nazis because they are able to communicate with the deepest forces in the universe, what every geological element carries, atomic forces and the power of any design be it natural, the design of molecules, or human-created and there we have a tremendous surprise. Two people launch a jewelry production unit in San Francisco and the main worker of the two is a Jew running incognito under a false name and under the de facto protection of the Japanese, a little bit more at the end of the book. And it is this Jew who is the creative jeweler, the creative artist, the craftsman who is producing with his hands the world of tomorrow as the Japanese main character tells us over and over again.
That would symbolically tells us the German Nazis tried to eradicate the Jews because they represented the future and the Nazis represent the past. Simple, symbolical but is it really cathartic? There I cannot answer because anti-Semitism is slightly more complex than just a simile or a metaphor. It has to do with the fear that developed somewhere in the Middle East some 10,000 years ago in the vast confrontation of three cultures emerging from the ice age and trying to invent the future of the planet: the Turkic peoples, the Semitic peoples and the indo-European (Sumerian) peoples. We are still living on that heritage, the heritage of an anthropological rivalry that became the differentiation of three linguistic families, and of three cultures with three religions, and what’s more the Semitic community got split in two along a social differentiation (exploiter and exploited) and a religious antagonism (Judaism and Islam).
Of course in this book the Arabs and beyond them the Muslims are totally ignored and unconsidered, being replaced by the fourth human group that never had any role to play in the previous triad, the Buddhist and Confucian human family who are also from another linguistic family, the isolating family, here represented by the Japanese. That’s the main element that is absent from this book. Northern Africa, Egypt was essential at the end of the war but then the Arabs and Muslims are just not considered at all. That’s the shortcoming of the book in our modern times because since 1960-62 it is the community that has emerged most strongly from the initial triad and today the Asian isolating family is no longer represented by Japan but China. But of course this book did not aim at telling us its future which is our present, but only the present in 1961 if…
The last element I would like to show is that the book has no end, precisely because of what I have just said. It does not open on the future in 1961 so it cannot have any end. It is coming to several open-ended dead ends, open-ended because we can imagine what we like, but dead ends since it does not tell us anything about what may happen after 1961. That’s the doom of retrospective science fiction. It is dramatic, frightening but at the same time it leads to no vision of the future. It is some kind of castrated science fiction that cannot tell us anything about our real world, the world of the real readers of the book, particularly those who read it a long time after the writing time. And that’s where the video adaptation will be fascinating since it will have to be adapted for today’s and tomorrow’s publics. But we’ll have to wait for it to be available in the whole world to add a paragraph to this review.
Let the few who can access the video adaptation celebrate! God less the Child!
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU
le 4 mai 2011
Philip K. Dick is a master of unconventional sci-fi and fantasy genre, and those qualities are clearly exhibited in this work. It is set in 1960s America in a world in which Germany and Japan have won the World War II. US and the rest of the world are divided between those two superpowers, and we follow lives of several ordinary Americans who try to adjust themselves to this reality. The characters in the novel are fully developed in a manner that we've come to expect from Dick's later novels. Their personal struggles are intertwined with the new geopolitical power plays. The title of the novel refers to the sobriquet for Hawthorne Abendsen, a fictional writer of the book "The Grasshopper Lies Heavy" which forms a story-within-a-story and a sort of MacGuffin for this novel. This fictional book will also be at the center of the denouement of this novel, and may provide the clue for what this novel was all about.
The Man in the High Castle is another brilliant and thought provoking novel. It is an engrossing and fun read as well, and a true classic of science fiction.
le 7 avril 2014
Plusieurs personnages et pas mal d'informations à retenir au premier abord. Je ne savais pas vraiment où se trouvait l'essentiel. Et puis, finalement, au fur et à mesure, c'est un véritable plaisir de voir tous les événements et les points de vue de chaque personnage s'imbriquer, pour créer une unicité. Un livre vraiment bien écrit. Le fait d'avoir plusieurs personnages avec des points de vue différents, qui vivent chacun leur histoire de leur côté.. Et finalement tous ces destins qui se croisent plus ou moins.. C'est écrit avec beaucoup de talent. Quant à l'histoire, cette "fausse réalité" est vraiment bien trouvée. Je recommande vivement ce livre.
le 25 février 2016
Ce livre est un pur bonheur, il offre des moments de tension, de grands moments de réflexion, sur le thème de l'Uchronie, que se serait-il passé si Roosevelt avait péri dans un attentat ? Remarquablement bien écrit.