You have to be a master, in any art form really, to grab someone’s attention right off the bat. And only the greatest of masters can keep a strong hold over that attention and make it permanent from start to finish. Philip K. Dick is such a great master in my eyes. This book reaffirmed that conclusion.
From start to finished I was gripped, as you should be when reading a thriller. But in the vein of Philip K Dick, his inventiveness, creativity and unique approach to writing in general this book is a lot more than just a thriller/mystery. It is also a dystopian novel, set in the 1980s. He, and some other writers who really understand the world and the impact a dystopia would have on people, always build and change the parts of human lives that condition us the most. In this case, the government and our daily routines.
As in other Dick novels, there are a lot of drugs and weird, MK-Ultra level government secret activity. But still, the drugs are not ever-present, as you would find in a Chuck Palahniuk novel for example. It is fun to see a protagonist, who is a world-famous celebrity, navigate a world where he is not only unknown but where there is no proof that he even existed in the first place. The setup reminds me a lot of the David Lynch masterpiece and personal favorite Mulholland Drive. With every step that the novel progresses you swing from one side to the other of belief or disbelief. Should I trust the protagonist or should I trust the world?
The answer is somewhere in between. To find out what that answer is, pick up this psychedelic thriller masterpiece and read it for yourself.
Flow my tears, the policeman said, is just a beautiful title. There should be a slow song, a ballad with this title. I wonder what Leonard Cohen would do with a title like that…