cover image The Broken Bubble

The Broken Bubble

Philip K. Dick. Arbor House Publishing, $16.95 (246pp) ISBN 978-1-55710-012-2

Dick, primarily known for his science fiction, produced a number of mainstream novels, but only one of these was published during his lifetime. Since his death in 1982, these fresh, involving books, written in the 1950s, have been appearing at the rate of about one a year; they reveal the author as a keen observer of life and love with an acutely modern sensibility. This narrative centers on the breathtakingly destructive lives of four residents of Northern California in 1956. All are lost souls to some extent, capable of taking almost violent action to assuage feelings of emptiness and meaninglessness. The narrator is Jim Briskin, a radio personality who has jeopardized his job in an act of willful rebellion and now turns to his ex-wife Pat, whom he still loves. Pat is even more willful but less mindful of consequences than Jim; when he takes her to visit two of his fans, a married teenage couple, Pat seduces the husband, setting in motion chaotic forces that almost wreck the lives of all four. A fascinating, totally believable account of life in the age of anxiety. (July)