Divine Madness

My latest review for Los Angeles Review of Books is on Kyle Arnold's The Divine Madness of Philip K. Dick. I hate writing bad reviews, but this book got under my skin, although I think PKD fans and scholars will like parts of it. Here's my verdict:

"The book seems to have little reason for being beyond capitalizing on the growing popularity of PKD’s life and works. It is not a moral treatise on the dangers of drug abuse. Arnold doesn’t offer any new material that Lawrence Sutin, Paul Williams, and Emmanuel Carrère haven’t already delivered in better formats from more compelling angles. His final deduction—that 2-3-74 and The Exegesis stemmed from PKD having “a spiritual opening that resulted in a powerful yet temporary transcendence of his problems in living,” rather than a schizoaffective hallucination—doesn’t merit a book-length exegesis. Rather than illuminate anything novel or interesting about PKD, The Divine Madness of Philip K. Dick reveals, instead, Arnold’s own shortcomings as a critic and analyst."

Read the full review here.