Adam Gopnik has a terrific piece on Philip K. Dick in the current New Yorker. I could quibble until the world falls into gubbish, but Gopnik is one of the few literati I’ve seen write about Dick and really get him in the way that I, in my solipsistically infinite wisdom, would wish Dick to be gotten.
And I’ll be honest, my primary reason for digging Gopnik’s article is that he loves VALIS. Here’s the money quote, which I agree with in every particular:
There are many books with unreliable narrators under the control of sane authors; this is the only one I know where a sane, reliable narrator (on the book’s own terms) is under the control of a clearly crazy author. What makes it heartbreaking is the author’s consciousness, expressed sporadically through the fictional narrator Dick, that he (that is, the real Dick, embodied in the pathetic Fat) has undoubtedly gone nuts—but that, just as undoubtedly, he is in possession of the truth about the cosmos. His account of his vision is braided with the details of cancer treatments and the mordantly rendered specifics of time spent in a ward for the insane—a man who knows he’s broken but believes that the breaking has poured forth a flowing truth.
Exactly. What a brave and wonderful book that is.