Humpty Dumpty in Oakland

Philip K. Dick

Tor Books

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Set in San Francisco 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 is an elderly garage owner with a heart condition, who is about to 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 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 it happen and--denying to himself all the time what he is doing--he sets out to thwart Harman.

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Book Excerpts

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Chapter 1
As he drove, Jim Fergesson rolled down the window of his Pontiac, and, poking his elbow out, leaned to inhale lungfuls of early-morning summer air. He took in the sight of sunlight on stores and pavement as he went up San Pablo Avenue at a slow pace. All fresh. All new, clean. The night machine, the whirring city brush, had come by, gathering up; the broom their taxes went to.
At the curb he parked, turned off the motor, sat for a moment lighting a cigar. A few cars appeared and parked around him. Cars moved along the street. Sounds, the first stirrings of people.

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Reviews

Praise for Humpty Dumpty in Oakland

“A kind of pulp-fiction Kafka, a prophet.”
--The New York Times
 
“Remarkable. . .echoes of Dick’s contemporaries such as Ralph Ellison, Richard Yates, Rod Serling, Raymond Chandler and early Kurt Vonnegut Jr. resonate, and a bonus exists in Dick’s impeccable eye for detail. . . .Dick fans will be in rapture.”
--Publishers Weekly [boxed review] on Voices from the Street
 
“He reworks the territory of soured domesticity (à la Richard Yates and John Updike) in a working-class milieu anticipating Raymond Carver. Decades later, his oeuvre (like Philip Roth's) is lovingly enshrined in our national pantheon.” –LA Times
 
"It may be hard for some to accept that the same writer who recently snuck into the American canon as a visionary and paranoid pop surrealist also penned a half dozen or more proletarian-realist novels set in the California of the '50's and early '60's, the best of which occupy a region demarcated by Richard Yates on one side and Charles Willeford on another. But accept it."  —Jonathan Lethem

“Well written, it is a welcome addition to its authors’ large and brilliant canon.”
--Booklist on Voices from the Street

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About the Author

Philip K. Dick

PHILIP K. DICK has had nine movies based on his stories made, including the classic, Blade Runner. Prior to his death in 1982, Dick lived in California.

Philip K. Dick

Philip K. Dick

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Available Formats and Book Details

Humpty Dumpty in Oakland
Philip K. Dick

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Tom Doherty Associates
Tor Books
September 2008
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781466837515
ISBN10: 1466837519
256 pages
$7.99

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Tom Doherty Associates
Tor Books
September 2008
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780765316912
ISBN10: 0765316919
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 256 pages
$16.99
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