Reviewing a classic: Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick

Product info (from Goodreads):

Jason Taverner woke up one morning to find himself completely unknown. The night before he had been the top-rated television star with millions of devoted watchers. The next day he was just an unidentified walking object, whose face nobody recognised, of whom no one had heard, and without the I.D. papers required in that near future.

When he finally found a man who would agree to counterfeiting such cards for him, that man turned out to be a police informer. And then Taverner found out not only what it was like to be a nobody but also to be hunted by the whole apparatus of society.

It was obvious that in some way Taverner had become the pea in in some sort of cosmic shell game – but how? And why?

My impressions:

Written in 1974 and set in the near future (at that time) of 1988, Philip K. Dick’s haunting dystopian novel addresses a range of existential, social and political themes: identity and loss of identity, celebrity and anonymity, control of individuals by quasi-dictatorship police forces, the influence of drugs on our perception of reality etc. First major twist (but not a spoiler): the main lead, Jason Taverner, is an AI-enhanced creature, known as the six, neither a pure human nor an android. The second major twist: Jason’s nightmarish journey is written in a style of a pulp fiction story but it also touches very serious, philosophical subjects. What’s more, the narration is neither especially coherent nor very captivating, with some plot holes and entire paragraphs which seem to be out of the place. Still a desire to understand the hows and whys of Jason’s mysterious loss of identity kept me reading. And yes, I completely agree that the title is weird and too long – but it’s a norm with Philip Dick. By the way, I suppose this book was the source for Cersei- Jaime pairing in the ASOIAF series.

Final verdict:

If you want to read a classic that raises many more questions than it answers and ends on a bleak tone here is your perfect position. Not the worst Philip Dick’s novel but also not my favourite – if you haven’t read anything by him, do not start with this one.

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4 Responses to Reviewing a classic: Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick

  1. blodeuedd says:

    More questions than it answers, NO!

  2. Carole Rae says:

    Bleh. Nooooo thank you ma’am.

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