They is a dream, a surreal nightmare which sends a shock right to the heart of our cultural complacency.
As you read it you should remember that the men and women who live and die in it might easily be you. (They could be snatched out of your hand, quite suddenly, and pulped. No reason would be given, except pure destructive savagery.)
Those who struggle in its pages to maintain their reason, their sanity, their capacity to love and hope, are not so far removed (nor are the forces that menace them) from our own and, as we fondly imagine, unruffled lives.
As bureaucracy and governmental control proliferate, Kay Dick pleads for the individual and intellectual freedoms which are so rapidly being eroded. Her book is both a poignant celebration of these values and an anguished caveat.
I enjoyed the tone of this one a lot. It’s so vague but has such insidious moments. It’s quite a fragmented novel as it follows an unnamed narrator across 9 different stories involving their various artistic friends so you never really get to know the characters well and the stories are quick and reasonably unexplained.
The book focuses on a frightening and mysterious group only known as “they”. They, who don’t tolerate art, emotion, or lives of non-confirmatory, who are assumed human, but are they? Who intimidate, perhaps by removing your books one at a time from your house each day, or putting a dead animal on your doorstep, or who simply use violence to eradicate what they deem improper.
This is a dystopian in the realm of Fahrenheit 451, but written by a queer woman and definitely more spooky in tone. I just wish there was more of it as I felt it lacked a bit of substance. I did enjoy its ambiguity and horror tones though!