Puttering About in a Small Land published 1985

Roger and Virginia Lindahl, a generally unhappy couple living in Los Angeles, decide to send their son Gregg to a boarding school several hours away. Roger meets one of the other mothers at the school and ends up having an affair. Like most of Dick’s mainstream novels that weren’t published until after he died, this one is cynical and downbeat. It’s likely the best of the bunch, although the bar is awfully low… don’t get too excited.

Puttering About in a Small Land
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Dick often borrowed from his other mainstream books, probably raiding them for ideas since they had remained unpublished. Modern TV Sales & Service (with a repairman named Olsen) first appeared in Voices from the Street and was again repurposed in Dr. Bloodmoney. 

Cast of characters

  • Roger Lindahl – owner of Modern TV Sales & Service in Los Angeles
  • Virginia Lindahl – Roger’s wife
  • Gregg – Roger and Virginia’s seven-year-old son
  • Edna Alt – owner of Los Padres Valley School
  • Liz Bonner – mother of two boys who attend Los Padres
  • Chic Bonner – Liz’s husband
  • Pete Bacciagalupi – salesman at Modern TV Sales & Service
  • Olsen – repairman at Modern TV Sales & Service
  • Teddy – Roger’s ex-wife
  • Van Ecke – the math teacher at Los Padres
  • Mrs. McGivern – the science teacher at Los Padres
  • Marion Watson – Virginia’s mother
  • Jules Neame – owner of the garden supply store next door to Modern TV
  • Herb Tomford – floor manager of L & B Appliance Mart