Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Darkness at Noon” as Want to Read:
Darkness at Noon
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Darkness at Noon

4.06  ·  Rating Details  ·  17,434 Ratings  ·  868 Reviews
Originally written in German, but the German manuscript was lost & only the manuscript of the English translation survived.
Darkness At Noon stands as an unequaled fictional portrayal of the nightmare politics of our time. Its hero is an aging revolutionary, imprisoned & psychologically tortured by the Party to which he has dedicated his life. As the pressure to con
Paperback, 211 pages
Published 1947 by Penguin Books (first published 1940)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Darkness at Noon, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Darkness at Noon

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jeffrey Keeten
Feb 09, 2015 Jeffrey Keeten rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-russians
”This is a diseased century.
We diagnosed the disease and its causes with microscopic exactness, but wherever we applied the healing knife a new sore appeared. Our will was hard and pure, we should have been loved by the people. But they hate us. Why are we so odious and detested?
We brought you truth, and in our mouth it sounded a lie. We brought you freedom, and it looks in our hands like a whip. We brought you the living life, and where our voices is heard the trees wither and there is a rustli
Dec 21, 2008 Jessica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who feels guilty about not being political enough
Oh, how I do love those Russians! Plus I'm hoping reading this will make me feel better about my own life, which lately feels like a grim, freezing Stalinist dystopia of gray hopeless days. It could be worse, right?


I've got a lot of work to do tonight, and somehow I thought this would be an excellent time to go back and review Darkness at Noon. MUCH bigger priority than getting work done, wouldn't you say....?

Well, so, okay, this book was a little bit bleak. Yeah, not the feel-good date nov
An Announcement Concerning the Class Traitor Not

After a scrupulously fair trial in the Amazon People's Court, Comrade Not has been found guilty of posting an ideologically unsound review. To protect other comrades from the possibility of being seduced into thought-crime, the review has now been removed from the community area. Amazon has also offered Not a course of reeducation. Their representatives arrived promptly at 4 am yesterday morning, and courteously but firmly helped Not to understand
Jun 27, 2015 Maciek rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
Darkness at Noon is one of the classics of anti-totalitarian literature, often mentioned alongside novels such as Brave New World and 1984. While both these novels are fictions based on an idea of a totalitarian state, Darkness at Noon is a clear allegory of Soviet Russia during the 1930's - the time of the Moscow show trials and the Great Purge.

Although the author openly acknowledges this in the preface, the country in which the book is set is never named - though he includes specific details r
Dave Russell
Apr 11, 2009 Dave Russell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
At the end of 1984 Winston Smith asks O'Brien why the party acts the way it does. His answer always pissed me off: "Power for power's sake." That's not an explanation. That's a tautological cop out. It's like Orwell was content to warn us about what a totalitarian state would look like without exploring more deeply why it got there. Thanks George.
Darkness at Noon explores this question more fully and in a more honest way. According to Koestler the Soviets were basically a bunch of Raskolnikovs.
Stephen P
Mar 07, 2014 Stephen P rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A best friend with different literary tastes than myself recommended a book. An historian buff he reported this psychological, political rendered piece of fiction as his all time favorite. A friendship of many years deserves its many sacrifices. A bit of time seemed small. Maybe many of us here at GR have been in this situation. A small amount of time sacrificed does not only mean plowing instead of the grace of reading but also not getting the time for the next book we have been waiting to rea ...more
J.G. Keely
A rather strange experience: here is a book which possesses many great qualities--it is well written, has a gripping story, and a great depth of psychology--but it ultimately falls into that secondary tier of modern novels that fail to make a full philosophical exploration of their quandries.

Perhaps the relative slimness of this book--often cited as the best novel of the Twentieth--is related to that shortcoming. While the political message is powerful and the philosophical questioning interesti
Mar 29, 2011 Szplug rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before I read Darkness at Noon, I could never quite comprehend the source of the wretched servility and abject self-negation with which the Old Bolsheviks broadcast their guilt and apostasy in so convincing a manner at the Moscow Show Trials in the mid-thirties. Koestler—no stranger to dark, narrow prison cells and the exquisite torture of living minute to precious minute awaiting the stark drum roll of the executioner's approaching footsteps—brings all of his harsh experience to this swiftly-mo ...more
Jan 13, 2016 Liz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Προφητικό, φιλοσοφημένο, διαφωτιστικό. Οι τελευταίες σελίδες είναι τουλάχιστον συγκλονιστικές.
Apr 01, 2016 Warwick marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Remarkable story on the translation history of this book from the NYRB:

The implications of Weßel’s discovery are considerable, for Darkness at Noon is that rare specimen, a book known to the world only in translation. This peculiar distinction has been little discussed in the vast critical literature about Koestler and his famous novel. In my lengthy 2009 biography of Koestler I barely touch on it, yet the phenomenon is all the more extraordinary when one considers that the novel has been transl
میلاد کامیابیان
تاریخ ظلمات
دربارهی «ظلمت در نیمروز» و ترجمههای فارسیاش

میلاد کامیابیان

کتابهای بسیاری تاریخ را روایت میکنند و کتابهای بسیار کمی اهمیت تاریخی دارند. اما کتابهایی که این هر دو ویژگی را باهم داشته باشند انگشتشمارند. «ظلمت در نیمروز» آرتور کوستلر یکی از آنهاست. نویسنده خودش از آن تاریخسازها بوده: تا پیش از وقوع جنگ جهانیِ دوم فرصت کرده، با چرخشی اساسی، از صهیونیسم به کمونیسم بگراید و از آن هم بگسلد و، بعد، در حین جنگ، در فرانسه زندانی شود و به ارتش بریتانیا بپوندد و برای بیبیسی کار کند و، پس از پایان
Feb 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"ظلمت در نیمروز"
نوشته ی "آرتور کاستلر" نویسنده ی مجارستانی است که بهترین اثر او به شمار می رود.
در این رمان ،از دستگیری تا اعدام بولشویک پا به سن گذاشته ای به نام «روباشوف» را میخانیم که( در داستان) از رهبران انقلاب و عضوی از کمیته مرکزی حزب کمونیست شوروی بوده.

عنوان کتاب " ظلمت در نیمروز " اصطلاحی است که از انجیل گرفته شده و به معنای آن است که کسی به گناه ناکرده دم تیغ برود.

به هنگام نیمروز ظلمت همهجا را فراگرفت و تا ساعت سه بعدازظهر ادامه یافت.

در این وقت عیسی با صدای بلند فریاد زد: «ایلوئی ایلوئ
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Comrade Nicholas Salmanovitch Rubashov is one of the founding Party of the Revolution. He is also perhaps the only man of that group of idealising thinkers still alive. For a long time he has had a recurring dream of being arrested in his bed, while sleeping under the poster of No. 1 (Stalin), the same poster that hangs above every bed, on every wall. And finally, he is arrested. As a politicial prisoner he is given solitude and time to sweat. There is a certain degree of fatalism in the way he ...more
Feb 20, 2008 Aaron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Koestler’s principle character, Rubashov, spends his entire adult life pushing the master narrative of the Soviet Revolution only to fall victim to it when the Stalinist purges of the 30s come calling. He’s arrested, seemingly for no reason, and forced to swallow the same cold philosophy he not only espoused but also used to justify the deaths of friends, compatriots, and even his lover. The Soviet prison where he finds himself is a Kafkaesque nightmare, but for Rubashov, all the conflict is int ...more
Darkness at Noon is a dramatised version of real events, an obvious but unnamed simulacrum of Stalinist Russia, with Rubashov, formerly a senior member of the Party, suddenly arrested and imprisoned for invented crimes. Driven not by character or plot but by ideas, it depicts Rubashov's state of mind and thought process as his incarceration forces him to contemplate the part he has played in building a dictatorship, and his disillusionment with the political philosophy he has imposed on others. ...more
Jul 24, 2015 Parastoo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
نمیدانم در سیستمهای سیاسیِ دیگر هم همین شباهت با دورانِ پاکسازیِ شوروی سابق وجود دارد یا نه. به هر حال من در لابلای خطوط این رمان موسوی را میدیدم که همچون روباشف با بازجویانِ جوانِ انقلابیِ نسل جدید مواجه میشود که خردکنندهاند. زنده باد ادبیات که چنین رنجهایی را بهخوبی ثبت میکند و با خودش به نسلهای بعد میبرد. ...more
There are only two conceptions of human ethics, and they are at opposite poles. One of them is Christian and humane, declares the individual to be sacrosanct...the other starts from the basic principle that a collective aim justifies all means, and not only allows, but demands that the individual should in every way be subordinated and sacrificed to the community.
Koestler believes in socialism; his question is, if achieving socialism means torturing and murdering a few people, do we throw out th
Non credo più nella mia infallibilità
Una lettura che mi ha preso un po’ alla volta: una partenza difficile, un momento di rifiuto, un proseguimento faticoso in attesa... poi l’inaspettato coinvolgimento, l’interesse e la piena partecipazione fino all’ultima pagina. Una scrittura profonda, condotta con una lucidità sconvolgente: una speculazione spietata del Totalitarismo, cui non viene mai associato un nome particolare, ma che viene scrutato in tutti i suoi aspetti; una indagine della costruzi
Definitely one of the greatest novels of the 20th century. I am embarrassed, frankly, that I'm 37 and reading this only now. This is a work I should have read in high school, then in college, then again almost every year since. Standing guard silently behind greats like Orwell and Hitchens is Arthur Koestler. Rubashov is one of the best-realized characters and Darkness at Noon is a near-perfect novel. Dostoevsky would have killed Koestler with an axe, and Tolstoy would have pushed his ass in fro ...more
Feb 03, 2008 Jared rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Without hope man has little left to live for. Rubashov was a strong man with an iron heart, willing to sacrifice anyone for Mother Russia (including himself), but without a hopeful reality, idealistic thought doesn’t help much. Set in a Russian political prison during the so-called Moscow Trials of the 1930s, Darkness at Noon paints a solemn picture of life inside a prison, where tapping code on thick cement walls is the only mode of communication and its commonplace to watch a prison mate being ...more
May 30, 2013 Tony rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
DARKNESS AT NOON. (1940). Arthur Koestler. *****.
This work was required reading for one of my college courses, a long time ago (1959-1960). At the time of its publication – and even when I read it – the book was banned in the USSR. It may still be banned today, I’m not sure. I do remember that I wished at the time that they had also banned it in Pennsylvania. It is not an easy read, but my second read provided for an appreciation that I wasn’t capable of the first time through. Koestler (1905-19
May 07, 2012 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
It's strange. A human being enters this world and then tries to find a meaning or a purpose. Each generation sort of has its own road map for finding a fraction of what is promised; but nothing really ever quite suffices. That remainder is basically what it means to be a human being. To know, but to know only partially and to be irritated by that imperfectness, and to be driven to revise and to rethink what is, and to bring our understanding into greater alignment with the movement of things aro ...more
Aug 08, 2010 Vheissu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Vheissu by:
Shelves: literature
"Honour was to serve without vanity, without sparing oneself, and until the last consequence." (Koestler, p. 189)

This book is less a "novel" than a personal meditation on the nature of
totalitarianism and the role--if any--of individuals in it. Arthur Koestler (1905-1983)was a disenchanted Marxist-Leninist who was jailed and tortured in Spain and France before World War II and subsequently lived out his life in England. The book was published in 1941, just before the United States and Soviet Uni
Jul 19, 2015 Roberto rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nella Russia negli anni '30, un funzionario del Partito, Rubasciov, è arrestato e sottoposto ad una tortura psicologica e ad estenuanti interrogatori per fargli ammettere colpe che in realtà non ha mai commesso.

Quale è l'accusa? Di essere un controrivoluzionario. Di tradire gli ideali del Partito.
Tanti indizi, anche se assurdi, lo accusano e ogni suo comportamento, gesto o parola detta o non detta non fa che peggiorare la sua situazione e dimostrare la sua colpevolezza.

"La storia ci ha insegnato
Mar 29, 2016 Seth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A new development: A graduate student at the University of Kassel, Germany, discovered the original German-language manuscript of this book, which had been missing for decades, in a library in Switzerland. Readers know only the English version, which reflects a British interpretation of the original work. Unfortunately, this led to a variety of translation errors having the effect of softening the impact of the interrogations that Rubashov was forced to endure. In fact, instead of "interrogation ...more
Jul 23, 2011 Jeremy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary, canon
A joy to read and an important book in a very genuine way: both in its original historical context and, perhaps, for good. While Koestler uses more 'real world' dynamics than his firend Orwell did in '1984', both explore the problems of revolution and modern revolutionary politics. While Orwell's character is a kind of 'everyman', Koestler's is an 'old guard' revolutionary faced with a purge. The ethics and unethics of both worlds collide brilliantly. In particular, in a way perhaps Orwell did n ...more
L'unico sogno che rimane consiste in una sola parola scritta sulla porta del cimitero dei vinti: DORMIRE
Ecco un libro che mi colpì molto ed è rimasto profondo nella mia memoria, forse perché è stato il primo che ho letto sull'argomento (le purghe staliniane, per usare una definizione riduttiva).
Forse invece perché è proprio bello e magari meriterebbe la quinta stella.

Altro elemento che colpisce è che fu scritto nel 1940, pochi anni dopo l'inizio di quel mostruoso periodo storico, e viene da pens
A fiercely intelligent examination of the thought behind ruthless totalitarian communism through the account of a former Party Commissioner who is arrested and interrogated by a member of the younger generation, a native of the revolution.

It seems to me that Koestler has set out to render a great service to humanity in writing this book, and required all of his experience and insight to do so. It closes forever the possibility of ascribing confessions like Rubashov's to 'brainwashing', exposing
Oct 11, 2013 Chakavak rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
"چرا افتادی زندان؟"
چه سادگی رقت انگیزی, روباشوف با عینکش به دیوار تقه زد:
"اختلاف نظر سیاسی"
جواب آمد:
"هورا! گرگ ها همدیگر را پاره می کنند!"
Laura Leaney
Oct 27, 2014 Laura Leaney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Be aware that this review contains commentary on the novel's ending.

Nicolas Salmanovitch Rubashov, protagonist of Darkness at Noon, is the “what if” continuation of Dostoyevsky’s Raskolnikov. What if Raskolnikov had continued his utilitarian revolution? What if logic replaced love? Replaced beauty? Replaced compassion for the individual? Arthur Koestler’s novel attempts the answer.

Neither the “party” nor the country is named, but there is no need. All the names are Russian. Rubashov is one of th
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Studs Lonigan
  • A Dance to the Music of Time: 4th Movement (A Dance to the Music of Time, #10-12)
  • The Way of All Flesh
  • Zuleika Dobson
  • The Old Wives' Tale
  • The Wapshot Chronicle
  • A High Wind in Jamaica
  • The Big Money (U.S.A., #3)
  • Nostromo
  • Under the Volcano
  • Point Counter Point
  • Appointment in Samarra
  • The Ambassadors
  • Parade's End
  • The Magnificent Ambersons (The Growth Trilogy, #2)
  • A Bend in the River
  • Octobriana and the Russian Underground
  • Life and Fate
Arthur Koestler CBE [*Kösztler Artúr] was a prolific writer of essays, novels and autobiographies.

He was born into a Hungarian Jewish family in Budapest but, apart from his early school years, was educated in Austria. His early career was in journalism. In 1931 he joined the Communist Party of Germany but, disillusioned, he resigned from it in 1938 and in 1940 published a devastating anti-Communis
More about Arthur Koestler...

Share This Book

“Satan, on the contrary, is thin, ascetic and a fanatical devotee of logic. He reads Machiavelli, Ignatius of Loyola, Marx and Hegel; he is cold and unmerciful to mankind, out of a kind of mathematical mercifulness. He is damned always to do that which is most repugnant to him: to become a slaughterer, in order to abolish slaughtering, to sacrifice lambs so that no more lambs may be slaughtered, to whip people with knouts so that they may learn not to let themselves be whipped, to strip himself of every scruple in the name of a higher scrupulousness, and to challenge the hatred of mankind because of his love for it--an abstract and geometric love.” 57 likes
“Our Press and our schools cultivate Chauvinism, militarism, dogmatism, conformism and ignorance. The arbitrary power of the Government is unlimited, and unexampled in history; freedom of the Press, of opinion and of movement are as thoroughly exterminated as though the proclamation of the Rights of Man had never been. We have built up the most gigantic police apparatus, with informers made a national institution, and the most refined scientific system of political and mental torture. We whip the groaning masses of the country towards a theoretical future happiness, which only we can.” 18 likes
More quotes…