Tyler 's Reviews > Darkness at Noon

Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler
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's review
Apr 19, 2008

really liked it
Recommended for: Everyone
Read in January, 2007

The final word on Stalin's 1937-38 purges and show trials, this book can be called an historical novel. I rate the story highly for the taking up this spellbinding part of the human drama, and doing it from an insider's point of view.

The story follows a modernist, stream-of-consciousness motif that compresses the time of the narrative to a few short days and confines the setting to a single place based on Moscow's notorious Lubyanka Prison. The book is a kind of play in four acts. The protagonist reflects on the revolution of which he's a hero, and the government it put in power, an inhuman machine that has now begun eating its own children.

One of the strangest aspects of the real show trials was their bizarre stagecraft. The narrative arc of this book helps readers understand the tortured psychology behind the need for such psychotic theatrics. Of particular interest to individualists will be the final chapter, which comments on the insanely misbegotten efforts of Communism to efface the individual.

The book is in a class all its own.

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