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Mary And The Giant (2015)

Mary And The Giant (2015)
3.45 of 5 Votes: 3
0575074663 (ISBN13: 9780575074668)
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Mary And The Giant (2015)
Mary And The Giant (2015)

About book: Mary Ann Reynolds is just emerging from her chrysalis of childhood to face the reality of 1950s' California. Her home is Pacific Park, a sleepy town in the middle of nowhere. Her new acquaintances, Joseph Schilling who owns the new record store, Paul Nitz who plays piano at the Lazy Wren Club, black blues singer Carleton Tweany, her loser fiancé Dave Gordon and a host of other kooky weirdoes and freaks are about to help Mary Anne Reynolds discover who she really is.Had any other writer, treating the 1950s in such a mellow chilled out fashion, written Mary And The Giant, I'd have gone 'Yaaaaah', and given it an average score for the sort of storybook it is. Yes, the characters are rich and varied, and the narrative's interesting without being too formalised, and the writing has moments of brilliance. But there's no one great thing that really draws you in. Sure Mary Anne's a bit weird but there's been many a book about psychologically damaged characters over the last 200 years, right? It's an empty book in many ways and in others it just goes beyond the pale. Let me explain...This is a mainstream book by the science fiction author Philip K. Dick (Blade Runner, Minority Report and A Scanner Darkly are a few movie adaptations of his writing). Dick was renowned for his numerous science fiction books and short stories. Over a period of 20 years he was a prolific writing machine. He also wrote a number of mainstream novels but only one, Confessions Of A Crap Artist was ever published in his lifetime. Now, I've said it before and I'll say it again. Philip K. Dick is not a science fiction writer. I don't care how much anger you put into your retort - it's just water off a duck's back. A better way to describe Dick may be to say that he is a 'temporal location manager for biographical anecdotes of social concern'. Well, what does that mean?Take his handling of the racial tensions in 1950s' America. Take his handling of the effects of drugs on otherwise normal human beings. We all know, or at least we should be now, that Philip K. Dick had a drug problem. Was he schizophrenic, as some writers have speculated?Let's look at his female central character, Mary Anne Reynolds. You read enough Dick fiction (I think I've read over half of published output) and you see this singular, strong female lead in all Dick fiction. She's wrong somehow, broken, damaged beyond repair. She's always beautifully young (maybe schoolgirl young) and she's always got pert breasts and she's always a delightful person on the surface but totally bonkers once you scratch down a little. There's always this impression that the girl just doesn't belong. She can't hold down a job and she is totally (terrifyingly) spontaneous in everything she does. Dick says it in summary, later in the book, "Someday, in a hundred years, her world might exist." And then it hit home like a freight train.Mary Anne Reynolds (like most other Dick girls) is a replicant from the future. It's just the way she reacts to social situations with painful naiveté while at other times she's a domineering bitch. Obviously for the former she has no recorded memories on which to fall back for guidance and the latter she's shooting someone else's psychological bullets from her gun. Mary Anne Reynolds is indeed a jarring character that has slipped out of some alternative universe and is struggling to cope in our alien environment. But there's more. And this revelation happened within the first few paragraphs.One of my all-time-favourite Dick books is an early one called The Game Players Of Titan, which is about a postwar world where the real estate poker/ monopoly game 'Bluff' is the latest global craze among those who survived the war with the Vugs, and key characters from that book are presented here without their sci-fi trappings. It's an odd realisation but it works. I kept waiting for the Earth stomping Vugs to arrive. And it added a surreal sense of unease as the cold-hearted narrative unfurls.I wouldn't say I loved this book as much as, say, A Scanner Darkly which was the most mainstream Dick book I'd read up to this point, but I did enjoy it greatly for this alternative-universe frisson of shock and realisation.

My Philip K. Dick Project #10Entry #10: Mary and the Giant (written late 1954-early ‘55, published April 1987)tMary and the Giant is an odd book. This is Dick’s third “mainstream” novel, although like most of them went unpublished during his lifetime. Like Voices From the Street, it follows the disintegration of a life over a short period, in this case, the title character, Mary Anne Reynolds. tMary is an interesting character, a twenty year-old only child of a dysfunctional marriage. She’s childlike, naive, impetuous, but at the same time serious and smart. Throughout the book, Mary is a tough character to get a bead on. Some of her dialog is frankly ridiculous, but charming nonetheless. tLike Voices From the Street, Mary is infused with a sort of weary melancholy, but never goes to the same extremes as Voices did in its final moments. It’s a quiet sort of book, for the most part, tighter and better constructed than Voices. A few moments are surprisingly heartbreaking, especially Mary and Schilling’s final scene. The ending follows the same structure as Voices and is perhaps a little too pat. tMary is a broken person, and so is everyone in this book. So is everyone, Dick says in this book, but still whole and unique in their own ways. There’s a sort of quiet and unspoken humanity that runs through this book, not quite apparent to me except upon reflection. Schilling himself is one of my favorite Dick characters, a big gentle old man whose biggest dream is to have his own classical record store in a sleepy California town. Dick’s passion for music runs throughout this book, from extensive discussion of Schilling’s extensive classical tastes to the soulful performances of Tweany at the black bar, The Lazy Wren, to Mary and the other kids bop music. tI’m not sure Dick could ever have been a great mainstream author, but he was no slouch either. He so wanted these books to be published, so I hope wherever he is, he gets some measure of comfort knowing that these little treasures are being read alongside his more famous sci-fi works. Stray thoughts:# tLike Voices From The Street, this is worth reading for it’s depiction of 50‘s California alone.My edition: Gollancz Hardcover, 1988Up next: “The Man Who Japed”!
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Owain Lewis
This has all the stuff I like about Dick; memorable characters with great dialogue and, even though this is not a scifi novel, a protagonist having trouble with reality. What I admire most though is just how prescient it was. 'Someday, in a hundred years, her world might exist. It did not exist now. He thought that he saw the new outlines of it. She was not completely alone, and she had not invented it in a single-handed effort. Her world was partially shared, imperfectly communicated. The persons in it had insufficient contact; they could not communicate with each other, at least not yet.' He wrote this sometime between 1951-53. This quote and the few hundred words either side of it are what pulled this novel together for me. I can't help but wonder what kind of controversy this novel would have caused had it been published at the time. One of those novels that gets better in the few hours after finishing it. A lingerer for sure.
Mary Anne has issues... she's stubborn, irrational, lonely, vulnerable, strong-headed, silly... but the 'giant' in this book I believe is her fear.I still love the characters that PKD created. They are real people. They have real issues. They are mostly all fucked up. I can relate to all of them. I am some of them... the fucked up ones.Today I finished the book. Today I saw a Thai truck pass me with big letters on the back window... PKD... strange world we live in... PKD knew it, recognized it and recorded it. Read his books. Learn about reality.
Mary è una giovane ragazza intrappolata in un mondo, in un'esistenza che non sente sua, che in effetti non lo è e che fino a quel momento aveva tentato in tutti i modi di rigettarla. Per sopravvivere e per non farsi inghiottire dal suo demone Mary si aggrappa ad uomini più grandi di lei e apparentemente forti e quando anche questi la deludono si rifugia in se stessa chiudendo chiunque altro fuori. Quello che lei cerca è solamente amore. Lotta con le unghia e con i denti per riuscire a conquistarsi un piccolo angolo di tranquillità in quel mondo che è l'unico in cui le è concesso di vivere. Mary vive un forte dissidio che la lacera e la spinge ad un comportamento incoerente, spesso dettato da emozioni e sentimenti nati quasi per caso. Cerca disperatamente di trovare un equilibrio tra il bisogno spasmodico di aiuto, di avere qualcuno cui affidarsi completamente, e quello altrettanto pressante di essere libera, di non dover dipendere da nessuno. Il titolo del romanzo “Mary e il gigante” è a mio parere fortemente significativo. La sua chiave di lettura è duplice. Chiarisce la natura dei rapporti che la protagonista instaura con gli uomini della sua vita, ma, una volta terminato il libro, appare evidente che il gigante di cui si fa menzione è l'ombra stessa di Mary, dei suoi timori, problemi e tormenti. In conclusione credo che Dick con questo romanzo abbia saputo perfettamente ricreare una realtà forte ed emblematica del periodo in cui i fatti sono ambientati, anche se molti sono gli spunti che spingono il lettore a riflettere sul periodo che noi stiamo vivendo.
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