The Man Whose Teeth Were All Exactly Alike was written by Philip K. Dick in the winter and spring of 1960, in Point Reyes Station, California. In the sequence of Dick's work, it was written immediately after Confessions of a Crap Artist and just before The Man in the High Castle, the Hugo Award-winning science fiction novel that ushered in the next stage of Dick's career.
This novel, Dick said, is about Leo Runcible, "a brilliant, civic minded liberal Jew living in a rural WASP town in Marin County, California." Runcible, a real estate agent involved in a local battle with a neighbor, finds what look like Neanderthal bones in Marin and dreams of rising real estate prices because of the publicity.
But it turns out that the remains are more recent, the result of an environmental problem polluting the local water supply.
©1984 The Estate of Philip K. Dick (P)2014 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.
Philip Kindred Dick's non-SF (like his SF) works are hit or miss. They're either masterpieces or unreadable. This one is of the former group. In typical Dickian fashion, "Teeth" opens by introducing a small cast of Everyman characters with rather mundane lives. The beginning is quite humorous. But again, like most of his works, as the story develops it morphs in stages from light humor to social commentary to desperation. It is a shame that his straight fiction went unpublished during his lifetime. But in the case of "Teeth", and especially considering when this was written (before H. Lee's "Mockingbird") and the subject matter, I can see why a publisher might've been very afraid of this book.
This is the best TC Boyle story that TC Boyle never wrote.
Phil Gigante gives a particularly good performance as narrator.
Overall, I highly recommend this one. I very rarely give five stars. And until now, I've never written a comment.
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