Humpty Dumpty in Oakland

Humpty Dumpty in Oakland

3.31 (854 ratings by Goodreads)
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The first US paperback edition of this classic Philip K. Dick novel

Set in the San Francisco Bay area in the late 1950s, Humpty Dumpty in Oakland is a tragicomedy of misunderstandings among used car dealers and real-estate salesmen: the small-time, struggling individuals for whom Philip K. Dick always reserved his greatest sympathy.

Jim Fergesson, an elderly garage owner with a heart condition, is about to sell up and retire; Al Miller is a somewhat feckless mechanic who sublets part of Jim's lot and finds his livelihood threatened by the decision to sell; Chris Harman is a record company owner who for years has relied on Fergesson to maintain his cars. When Harman hears of Fergesson's impending retirement he tips him off to what he says is a cast-iron business proposition: a development in nearby Marin County with an opening for a garage. Al Miller, though, is convinced that Harman is a crook, out to fleece Fergesson of his life's savings. As much as he resents Fergesson he can't bear to see that happen and--denying to himself all the time what he is doing--he sets out to thwart Harman.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 252 pages
  • 137.16 x 208.28 x 20.32mm | 249.47g
  • New York
  • English
  • Reprint
  • Illustrations, black and white
  • 0765316919
  • 9780765316912
  • 831,321

Review quote

"A grim portrait of a luckless used-car salesman and his bigoted landlord in Oakland that seems at first to share little with the hallucinatory sci-fi works for which Philip K. Dick is best known. But both men slip into paranoid spirals that will be familiar to any fan of Dick's later masterpieces. Offers a fascinating glimpse into how Dick's uniquely warped perspective evolved." --Entertainment Weekly (Grade: A)

"Fans of the late SF icon Dick who have yet to discover his obscure genre works will be pleasantly surprised by this profound--and perplexing--1986 posthumous tragicomedy.... This paranoid and ambiguity-filled exploration into the psyche of the small businessman showcases not only Dick's wild imagination and sardonic wit but also, and most notably, his mastery at intertwining perception with reality." --Publishers Weekly
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About Philip K Dick

Philip K. Dick's stories have been adapted often for the screen, including the classic film, Blade Runner. Prior to his death in 1982, Dick lived in California.
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Rating details

854 ratings
3.31 out of 5 stars
5 12% (100)
4 29% (248)
3 41% (351)
2 15% (127)
1 3% (28)
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