Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Philip K. Dick and his 'very dark shadow'

The author's only novel to win the Hugo Award

Link to November 23 New York Times article, "Philip K. Dick's Masterpiece Years".

Excerpt:    She had gone that day in 1958 to introduce herself to Dick, her neighbor, who had moved to west Marin with his second wife, Kleo. Less than a year later, he and his wife split. And Anne Rubenstein, as she was then called, a skinny blond widow, and Dick, a struggling writer, were married. Five years later, they too divorced. In the meantime they had a daughter, and Ms. Dick ran a jewelry business; Dick grew a beard and wrote some of the novels that would eventually get him hailed as a West Coast Calvino or Borges. (The Library of America began issuing his novels in 2007.) Ms. Dick, now 83, would spend the ensuing years seeking the man behind the disguise.

That inquiry is the subject of “The Search for Philip K. Dick,” a biography dressed like a memoir, which was published this month by the San Francisco press Tachyon.

“I think he’s what you might call a psychomorph,” Ms. Dick said recently, sitting in the boxy, modernist home she once shared with him. “He was quite different with each person. He had this enormous gift of empathy, and he used it to woo and please and control. I’m not saying he wasn’t a very nice person too; he was. He just had a very dark shadow

No copies in LINKcat.

“The Search for Philip K. Dick” — which begins with the couple’s meeting, continues through Dick’s death, and then drops back to cover his birth and early life — was published obscurely in the 1990s and self-published earlier this year. The Tachyon publication, a more thoroughly edited and fact-checked version, provides an invaluable record of Dick’s Marin County years.

While there were stretches of Dick’s life in which he had roommates, a series of girlfriends or a tight group of male friends, the Point Reyes years were his most domestic.

David Gill, who wrote the book’s introduction and runs an obsessive blog*, calls this “Dick’s family man period.

*Which the New York Times, apparently, can't mention by name.

(There! I've said it again.)

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