Dick would go on to do a much better job with a female protagonist in his last book The Transmigration of Timothy Archer.
In Mary and the Giant, twenty-year-old Mary Anne jumps from job to job and man to man trying to figure out her life in the small California town of Pacific Park. She first has a fling with the black singer Carleton Tweany before getting involved with recently-arrived Joseph Schilling who has decided to open a record shop.
It’s creepy for fifty-something Schilling to have an interest in Mary Anne, but she seems to be a willing participant in the relationship until she begins to act like he’s a monster, even though he’s the only somewhat sympathetic person in this otherwise dismal book.
By the end of the story Mary Anne decides to run off to San Francisco with the idiot piano player Paul Nitz, and in the last chapter we see they started a family.
Cast of characters
- Mary Anne Reynolds – our protagonist. A twenty-year-old girl
- Joseph Schilling – businessman who opens a record store in Pacific Park
- Max Figuera– Schilling’s business partner
- David Gordon – Mary’s fiancé
- Taft Eaton – owner of the Lazy Wren bar
- Paul Nitz – pianist at the Lazy Wren
- Carleton B. Tweany – black singer at the Lazy Wren
- Ed and Rose Reynolds – Mary’s parents
- Beth and Danny Coombs – a couple who follows Schilling to Pacific Park. Beth had a brief affair with Schilling in the past
- Chad Lemming – a local folk singer
- Leland Partridge – hosts a party for music wholesalers in San Francisco
- Sid Hethel – an obese composer at Partridge’s party