When I finished reading The Man in the High Castle, I closed it carefully and took a moment to think about what I had just read. In that immediate aftermath, I wasn’t entirely sure on my opinions on it. You see, The Man in the High Castle is a confusing read. It leaves you wondering and unsure and feeling like you just followed the white rabbit into their burrows.
On reflection, I think that is a big part of the appeal of this book. It isn’t a fun, easy read. Not by a long shot. But I liked that about it.
The Man in the High Castle is a sci-fi thought experiment, looking at what would have happened if Germany had won the war. If that wasn’t interesting enough, a book has emerged in the narrative itself detailing what might have happened if that had not been true. With so many alternative realities, and all the questions associated with each of them, it can certainly be confusing to read. This isn’t the kind of book that you can skim through or not really pay attention to it. I think that was why I struggled with it at first. I was convinced I could leave the telly on in the background and still enjoy it.
Once I realised that and let myself concentrate on it, I really enjoyed it. For a book based on the simple premise of ‘what if’, it is jam packed with interesting characters, unexpected developments and imaginative scenarios.
It also a book that doesn’t answer the questions for you. It leads you to them and then lets you figure it out for yourself. If you were to go and read The Man in the High Castle and then come back and talk to me about it, I bet we would have had very different experiences with it. We probably would have taken different things from it and come to dissimilar conclusions. I do enjoy a book like that from time to time, even if you do need to put a little extra work into reading it.
If you’re looking for a book like that, then you should check out The Man in the High Castle!