Monday, March 14, 2016

Book Review: Darkness at Noon

Finished reading Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler. I completed it over a month as I am a slow reader, and, generally relish every word. This, however, was worth the relish. Here’s a talented writer, much talented than many I have read recently, telling a chilling story, that makes you tremble to your bones. This is the story of a fictitious country, a socialist one, told by one of its highest disgraced founders. However, it rings true in its linear narrative that spares nothing, and you feel the cold darkness of the cell where the protagonist is kept prisoner.

If this is what happens to a founder of the socialist empire, then what could be the story of countless others who have been massacred, jailed, exiled, and disgraced? One thing that runs through the pages is the terror of such an evil empire. You shudder to think of this happening to your country, or, your immediate environment. God forbid!

Yes socialism may sound good from the outside, but inside its all hell. Theorising over class and rank, the murder of a trusted assistant, trial and execution of a friend who, initially tries to protect you through rank, must have been traumatic experience for party apparatchik Rubashov. He served his masters well, but was misunderstood and could do nothing about it. He was, ironically enough, jailed for anti-party activities, a common allegation in socialist parties. The prison scenes, the interrogation tactics are chillingly described by the author.

Worth a read, though it is a classic, or, in fact, because it is a classic.