The Broken Bubble. Philip K. Dick

The Broken Bubble.
Philip K. Dick
Arbor House, 1988.

One of Dick’s posthumously published non-SF novels. This follows a man who is 30-35 but still refuses to succumb to societal norms. One day, he refuses to read a blaring radio ad on his programme; his refusal speaks clearly to some teenagers who proceed to — believe it or not — rebel against authority. More interesting than this guy is his ex-wife (whom he is pursuing again) who has a complete emotional and moral breakdown.

Ultimately, though, the reader is watching these people’s lives rather than understanding or participating in them. Dick’s writing is good enough that we believe him when the ex-wife seduces the 18 year old fan, or paints the whole apartment black, etc., but the emotional distance remains — as with his naked woman in a giant ball, we are always watching through a plastic bubble.