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Thieves in the Night (1946)

by Arthur Koestler

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1922144,395 (4.13)4
Thieves in the Night : Chronicle of an Experiment was written in 1946. Originally intended to be the first of a trilogy, Koestler later concluded that the book stood on its own and plans for further novels made redundant.Based on the author's own experiences in a kibbutz, it sets up a stage in describing the historical roots of the conflict between Arabs and Jewish settlers in the British ruled Palestine.The book tackles many subjects, such as Zionism and idealism. Koestler was Zionist early in life, but later abandoned the idea.The title is a Biblical reference, quoted on the title page: "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night." (2 Peter 3:10)… (more)
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Mr. Koestler, with his experience of governmental injustice, and central European frame of mind, has created a very readable novel about the foundation of the state of Israel. I find it much more palatable than the Leon Uris "Exodus". The book is somehow much more real. it has been reprinted several times since the original publication. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Jun 15, 2020 |
Koestler, a Hungarian-British writer and journalist, more famously wrote Darkness at Noon, a critique of Communism and totalitarianism.
Thieves in the Night, written later, is a gently powerful story. Koestler recounts the travails and limited joys of only a few of the milliohnim. His characters are Jews, creating new settlements on purchased Arab land in the Holy Land, prior to World War II.
Creating settlements is a tough life. A reader like me learns almost too much about the vagaries and drudgery of deliberately, fully conscious communal life on Ezra's Tower, an isolated hilltop in Galilee. First, establish the security perimeter, then erect the watchtower, build the children's dorm, construct the cowshed, set up the showers…in that order. The dining hall, the sleeping huts for the men and women, and the lavatories, are to built later.
The Mukhtar and his clan in the nearby Arab village do not welcome the Hebrew newcomers. Soon, the leader of the village delegation gives morbid advice to the settlers: "You young fools and children of death, you don't know what may happen to you." Bauman responds, curtly: "We are prepared." The Jewish settlement at Ezra's Tower is not a resort.
The story of the settlers' life at Ezra's Tower is drab. Koestler's exploration of their mindset, their politics and their philosophy and their religion all swirled together, is stunning. Their aspirations and their misgivings and their palpable legacy of homelessness and their transforming experiences, are irresistible.
Thieves in the Night is an adventure for the open and inquiring mind. Occasional sympathetic despair is a perfectly understandable reaction.
After you read this novel, look around you and ask yourself if you see things a bit differently. Ask yourself if you like your new conception of "a thief in the night."
Read more on my blog: http://barleyliterate.blogspot.com/ ( )
  rsubber | Jun 20, 2013 |
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Koestler, Arthurprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Schuur, KoosTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night. (II Peter iii, 10)
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'Se devo andare all'altro mondo oggi, sarà cadendo dalla cima di un camion' pensò Joseph, affondando le dita nella coperta di tela incatramata del grosso veicolo ballonzolante.
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Thieves in the Night : Chronicle of an Experiment was written in 1946. Originally intended to be the first of a trilogy, Koestler later concluded that the book stood on its own and plans for further novels made redundant.Based on the author's own experiences in a kibbutz, it sets up a stage in describing the historical roots of the conflict between Arabs and Jewish settlers in the British ruled Palestine.The book tackles many subjects, such as Zionism and idealism. Koestler was Zionist early in life, but later abandoned the idea.The title is a Biblical reference, quoted on the title page: "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night." (2 Peter 3:10)

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