Now Reading: Mona Lisa Overdrive by William Gibson
Just Finished: Voices from the Street by Philip K. Dick
Voices from the Street, according to the jacket, is one of the earliest books that Philip K. Dick ever wrote, and his only novel that had remained unpublished. It’s also not a science fiction story, but rather a realist novel set in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1950′s. I encountered the book in the discounted impulse buy section of my local mega-bookmart, and was understandably curious, so I purchased it and began to read.
There’s an idea called “the fifty-page test.” That is, if you like the first fifty pages of a book, you ought to continue. Conversely, if you’re still bored by the time you reach the fiftieth page, you ought to stop and read something else. This book passed the fifty-page test for me, mainly because I was still curious as to what the story would be about, and also because I found the book interesting as a historical curiosity.
I think there ought to be another rule that says if you reach a certain point in the book and you’re still reading only because you want to know how the story ends, then you should be able to send off a postcard for the abridged version.
Voices from the Street is the story of a television salesman who’s not satisfied with life. He makes numerous bad decisions along the way, many of which fall into the category of what one truly wants versus what society says one ought to have.
It’s rather dark and grim, and if there is anybody left who thinks that the 1950′s were exactly like Leave it to Beaver depicted, then perhaps this book will prove to be a revelation.