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Darkness at Noon (Penguin Modern Classics)…

Darkness at Noon (Penguin Modern Classics) (original 1940; edition 1973)

by Arthur Koestler

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,530601,498 (4.02)143
Title:Darkness at Noon (Penguin Modern Classics)
Authors:Arthur Koestler
Info:Penguin Books in association w/ Jonathan Cape (1973), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Tags:European literature

Work details

Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler (1940)

  1. 70
    1984 by George Orwell (ivan.frade)
    ivan.frade: Both books talk about revolution and the people, individual rights vs. common wellness. "darkness at noon" is pretty similar to 1984, without the especulation/science-fiction ingredient.
  2. 40
    Animal Farm by George Orwell (chrisharpe)
  3. 30
    Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman (chrisharpe)
  4. 30
    Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell (br77rino)
    br77rino: Much of Orwell's impetus for writing "1984" came from his experience in the Spanish Civil War, which he writes about in this.
  5. 31
    One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn (chrisharpe)
  6. 31
    The Trial by Franz Kafka (chrisharpe)
  7. 20
    The Anti-Communist Manifestos: Four Books That Shaped the Cold War by John V. Fleming (prosfilaes)
    prosfilaes: Fleming describes the context of Koestler's book, including how it compared, was affected by and affected other anti-Communist books.
  8. 10
    A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution 1891-1924 by Orlando Figes (GabrielF)
    GabrielF: Written in 1940, Darkness at Noon really takes you into the minds of the revolutionary generation during Stalin's purges. A People's Tragedy is a very readable, thorough and fascinating history of the revolution.
  9. 00
    Dialogue With Death by Arthur Koestler (longway)
  10. 12
    The Case of Comrade Tulayev by Victor Serge (thatguyzero)
  11. 01
    Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada (chrisharpe)
  12. 02
    We the Living by Ayn Rand (br77rino)

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» See also 143 mentions

English (53)  Dutch (4)  French (2)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (60)
Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
Not a fun read, obviously. Short on plot, but in a tradition of fiction that exposes the evils of Stalinism, fascism and totalitarianism that followed the Russian revolution (along with other similar movements). Grim story of the brief imprisonment of an erstwhile ruthless leader of the Revolution who is now forced to confront his past from the other side. I much prefer Orwell's 1984, but I understand this book helped inspire him in its creation. ( )
  kishields | Apr 22, 2016 |
Decided to read it because it was on a list of dystopian novels brought home from school by my daughter. It reminded me a lot of "Invitation to a Beheading" by Nabokov. Lots to think about, but certainly not in the vein of current "dystopian" fiction. Not science fiction, but political and social commentary. ( )
  ndpmcIntosh | Mar 21, 2016 |
A little slow going read, but the message about the way of politics resonates even now. ( )
  VictoriaNH | Nov 22, 2015 |
It's undoubtedly a powerfully and skillfully written novel, much as I hate to say it, "Darkness at Noon" struck me as somewhat dated. It must have been a powerful anti-Stalinist statement when it was released in 1940, but now that just about nobody attempts to live their lives by the logic of historical determinism, it mostly just seems like a message sent into the future from an era whose ideological coordinates were very different from our own. Not that the writing's bad: Rubashov's is often a strong and fascinating character, and the novel is often enjoyably tense, psychologically acute, and well observed. It has moments of real pathos, and it's easy to see how it influenced Orwell's "1984." But I finished "Darkness at Noon" thinking that that novel's continued relevance may come from is universally applicable science fiction setting, while the polemical content of Koestler's novel seems less immediately relevant to this reader. I suppose it's a reminder that, for much of the twentieth century, ideological struggles weren't just something for intellectuals to dither about : they decided the fates of people's lives. Koestler, to his credit, complements many of his characters' arguments with resonant, well-chose symbolism. But there's only so much musing about living a logically ordered, Marxist-informed life that I can be expected to take. Bring it up at the next Party conference, Comrade. ( )
3 vote TheAmpersand | Jun 2, 2015 |
A good book. It does suffer the pangs of translation, unfortunately, but it's concise reading with a good conceit. ( )
  Salmondaze | Nov 30, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (48 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Koestler, Arthurprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hardy, DaphneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Walter, Hans-AlbertEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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He who establishes a dictatorship and does not kill Brutus, or he who founds a republic and does not kill the sons of Brutus, will only reign a short time.
Machiavelli, Discorsi

Man, man, one cannot live without pity.
Dostoyevsky, Crime and punishment
The characters in this book are fictitious.  The historical circumstances which determined their actions are real.  The life of the man N.S. Rubashov is a synthesis of the lives of a number of men who were victims of the so-called Moscow Trials.  Several of them were personally known to the author.  This book is dedicated to their memory. - Paris, October 1938 - April, 1940
First words
The cell door slammed behind Rubashov.
How can one change the world if one identifies oneself with everybody?
How else can one change it?
He who understands and forgives - where would he find a motive to act?
Where would he not?
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Fictional portrayal of the nightmare politics of our time. Its hero is an aging revolutionary, imprisoned and psychologically tortured by the Party to which he has dedicated his life. As the pressure to confess preposterous crimes increases, he re-lives a career that embodies the terrible ironies and human betrayals of a totalitarian movement masking itself as an instrument of deliverance.… (more)

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