Voices from the Street is one of Dick’s very first novels. I was surprised to see it hadn’t been published until 2007. It’s better in my opinion than most of his other mainstream works that were published in the ‘80s, although it’s been cut down considerably to 300 pages from the original 650+ page manuscript.
Twenty-five-year-old Stuart Hadley drifts aimlessly through the summer of 1952 in Oakland. He works as a salesman at Modern TV Sales and Service, dabbles with a religious group, finds himself involved with a woman who publishes a political magazine and has a complete breakdown after he gets promoted to manager of the TV store.
I thought this one was interesting. I could identify with Hadley’s existential crisis, at least until he goes crazy and becomes a rage monster. In the end the world defeats Hadley. He survives but without the passion of his earlier dreams.
Cast of characters
- Jim Fergesson – owner of Modern TV Sales and Service. Jim Fergesson is also the owner of Modern TV Sales and Service in Dr. Bloodmoney and it’s the name of the mechanic in Humpty Dumpty in Oakland
- Alice Fergesson – Jim’s wife
- Stuart Hadley – salesman at Modern TV Sales and Service
- Ellen Hadley – Stuart’s wife
- Theodore Beckheim – speaker for the Society of the Watchmen of Jesus
- Olsen – serviceman at Modern TV Sales and Service
- Joe Tampini – salesman at Modern TV Sales and Service
- Dave Gold – Hadley’s Jewish left-wing college friend
- Laura Gold – Dave’s wife
- Marsha Frazier – editor of the political magazine Succubus
- Horace Wakefield – runs a flower shop near Modern TV Sales and Service
- Sally Sorrell – Stuart’s sister
- Bob Sorrell – Sally’s husband