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My favorite Philip K. Dick book is Valis and when I began reading this novel I used that book like a guide post in following along with the path of the main character who has an apt surname of Perceval. There were other narrative stylings like using the names of Philip K. Dick stories in the text and a code on the back of the book which I have little idea how to solve. But the further I read into the novel, the less I noticed these because I became involved in the plot.
The novel follows the physical and spiritual journey of Nikki who guided by the sprit of Philip K. Dick goes to New Mexico and California to find the missing manuscript that was in Dick’s safe when his house was broken into. I loved the meshing of fact and fiction in this book and the scenes of Philip K. Dick’s death and the break-in of his house are written beautifully.
The level of detail in the book makes it seem very dense and also gave me the sense that this is an autobiographical novel or at least one which describes parts of the author’s life which can be both a good thing and a bad thing. The elements used from the author’s life make the book seem very realistic when the strange events are happening to the main character but also box the writer into getting on the page exactly what happened to them which I think bogged down the novel.
The novel was a slow start for me and then picked up when Nikki was deciding to start her journey and then bogged down again until she was in New Mexico and picked up more and more coinciding with her revelations. I also think the first part of the novel concerning Dr. Gribbin didn’t need to be included. I believe the need to get everything down like it happened caused these areas of slow narrative where there are many questions, few answers for the reader and fewer for Nikki.
Overall, the book is well worth the purchase and the time that it takes to read it. I recommend this but more so only after reading Valis especially because it takes on much more meaning connected to that work and Dick’s later two novels. There was real depth in the end of the novel and not a cop out or sleight of hand that I was afraid may occur. I didn’t feel cheated by the ending.
I want to love this book but I only really like it a lot and I’m very glad that I read it. My preference on the length of books is about 200 pages and this one (over 300 pages) had some parts that I think could have been cut to streamline the narrative. I’m glad that she wrote it even though it is geared in some ways at a specialized audience and I’m glad that I had the opportunity to read it.
Dickhead: Local writer summons Philip K. Dick in novel
One thought on “Review: A Kindred Spirit by ej Morgan (2011)”
ha, Michael, I found your review in an odd way. I was checking my web site (aksbook.com) and clicked on the Forum button (that used to link to the Cal-based site.) Not only did the the link still work… there was a review of my novel! So, phildickian and synchronous 😉
Well, I too wish you could have loved it, but liking it a lot good, too. Just FYI, and for the record: I never met Dr. Gribbin, even tho he is a real person, I never went to the Observatory, and never had a lot of those experiences. As I’m fond of saying, I’ll never confess exactly which ones 😉 I don’t mind saying my dad was 67 when I was born, and yes I was born in Ottumwa, but never worked at the Courier… blah, blah.
The story starts with a bang (the explosion at Phil’s Hacienda Way house) and the Grand Alignment… well for me, that’s the way the story unfolds. It is a blend of fact and fiction. Patrick Clark called it Transrealism. I did feel that Phil communicated to me OFTEN during the writing process. That’s why Paul Williams wrote the note that I included in the back of the book (that Phil liked being in my story.)
I had a lot of angst while writing… what to put in, what to take out. But, in the end, for me, the pieces all came together like a puzzle. I never thought I would ever utter these words, but there is really nothing I would change. I don’t mean that to sound egotistical in any way. It simply is what it is. It’s where my mind and writing capability was at the time. Hopefully I can write a better book in the future. The one I have in mind REALLY delves into some of those same philosophical and theoretical issues in a non-fiction format.
Thank you for the review and especially for your honesty. I wouldn’t want it any other way. I know the Dickheads must be sick of seeing reviews about AKS. I honestly feel others can read it, whether they know anything about Phil or not. Several people have discovered PKD after reading it and that makes me smile and feel it was all worthwhile. It certainly isn’t the $$ from it, cause there’s been very little of that!
“A Kindred Spirit” is also a Kindle and iBook. No need for pesky paper, if that’s not your thing. Thanks again to the Otaku folk, to Lord Running Clam for the original “Intergalactic Release” of the novel and best wishes to all you Dick lovers. Whatever I write now or in the future, there will always been a very special place in my heart for PKD and those who love his writing. “the End?” *** jami