(Review) Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick


What if one day you wake up and find that everything you hold dear does not exist. The ones closer to you don’t even recognize you, let alone come near you. No one is willing to help you. For the world, it’s like you never existed. Well, I’ll most definitely go mad.

In Flow my Tear, the Policeman Said, James Taverner, a top-rated television personality and pop star, suffers such a fate. He woke up one day and was at a complete loss of identity. To top it off, the free America as we know it is gone. The democracy is overthrown after the second civil war and the US is now police-run state. Under strict security, people who do not have proper identity papers are supposed to be rebellious and sent to forced labour camps. Thus, Taverner needs to hide from the police, get forged identity papers and find out why this is happening to him. This sci-fi thriller gets even more complex when peculiar characters cross his path.

As a guy total, Dick-illiterate, I can imagine why people like him so much. His way of writing is totally different from other writers of same genre and era. Like in this book, a powerful narrative makes up for the simplicity of dialogues. None of the conversations is worth remembering but the whole situation and the character will make home in your subconscious. In this book, Dick has started with a theme of solipsism – the theory that self is the only construct which is known and thus, exists. Such kind of selfishness and self-centeredness can be seen throughout the book by various characters. I like how the narrative is mildly negative and sad so as to depict the dystopia in the book.  The climax is thought-provoking and original but a little ambiguous. Which, I guess, might be a voluntary decision. Even after this, I will find it difficult to pick up another of Dick’s work. Mostly because I thought a little more than necessary, the dialogues between characters were stretched unusually. If it was for character development, it was overdrawn. The story after could not live up to the excitement build by the climax. Hence, the ending felt a little rushed.

I would say that I expected more from the book but was totally surprised by the way it’s written. The little bird called twitter told me that this book is considered average as compared to his other more distinguished novels. If that’s true, I’ll be looking forward to reading The Man From High Castle pretty soon, as this book cannot be said as being perfect but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

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