The back cover blurb implies a sci-fi mystery/thriller, but there is no such plot to be found. The truth is that this is actually a rehab memoir dressed unconvincingly in sci-fi garb.
This story is Trainspotting but with cyber-heroin. It's Disco Bloodbath but with vaguely futuristic ketamine.
It hits all the essential hallmarks of the addict diary genre:
Far-gone junkie roommates are scary,
cops are scary,
withdrawal sucks, and
halfway houses are surreal and scary.
Except this time there are holograms for some reason.
The addiction/recovery story had been told better elsewhere, and without the superfluous garnish of near-future dystopia.
This is my first foray into Philip K. Dick, a prolific author that I've always wanted to read but never knew where to join the fray. For the GamersRead book club the latest pick was A Scanner Darkly. I remember vaguely the trailers for the 2006 movie which had big stars and a different art style but that's all I knew about it going in.
A Scanner Darkly is a weird, often disjointed tale about a man who's sent to find the source of a drug that's ripping the streets of America. What follows is a story that's quite frankly all over the place. Part of my problems with A Scanner Darkly is that it's a world that I have a hard time relating to. As someone who's literally never done a drug in my life it is hard for me to relate or understand this world. Now having learned more about Philip K. Dick I know that it was a big part of his life and something that he often wrote about.
For me even after the devastating conclusion to A Scanner Darkly I couldn't help but find myself scratching my head. What just happened? What was the point of all of this? There weren't characters that I ever cared about. There weren't any meaningful relationships or conversations had. It's a story that meandered its way to a devastating conclusion, one in which I never felt it earned. This is a book that many consider a master piece. One of Philip K. Dick's best works. But for me it was all over the place and one that had it not been for a book club I would have never finished.
The combination PKD's skill with the narrative, and Paul Giamatti's pure vocal genius. The combination is powerful, and reinvents the story to me. Mr Giamatti's performance added layers of meaning that the story alone cannot provide. In hearing the words go on, I was softly crushed by the tale of addiction.
Bob Arctor examining his own actions and being unable to discern he is watching himself. It is told in casual matter of fact style, that it is unnerving, but so believable. Any work of this length has several gems, and begs to be listened to several times. I've heard critiques that the work is dated, or unbelievable, I found it lucid, sharp, satirical, and one of the best audio books I've had the pleasure of hearing.Paul
Paul Giamatti brings a craft to this tale. While I'm certain a skilled cadre assists with the performance, he owns the material he presents. His characterisation never seem forced. The whole process is as authentic as it is convincing. I might not want to have been in this addicted land, but Mr Giamatti bought an overflowing empathy to it. I listened to the story about three weeks ago, and wish to hear it again soon. Finally, I've heard other I'd stories on Audible this is the best.
I recall a very nuanced performance and great material. Snippets about people who lost their minds to substance D who could not figure out how to vacuum the floor left me oddly numb.In total, this whole story and its presentation shows brilliance.
Solid story well told.
Dick gives us an inside look at a subculture that many don't want to ever happen to us. But beyond that there is a story of just what the human mind can overcome even if all is destroyed and lost.
Paul's reading of the novel is by far a riveting performance that none could have matched. His voice carries you through it and the separation of characters and each of their qualities are brought forth in his reading. As a first time listener of Paul, I found that he was able to bring to life each character and it was clear who was who.
A Scanner Darkly is my favorite audiobook. Paul G. is a brilliant performer, and this is a masterpiece of acting that goes beyond what you would normally expect. Best PKD audiobook I've heard.