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Kallocain

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This is a novel of the future, profoundly sinister in its vision of a drab terror. Ironic and detached, the author shows us the totalitarian World-state through the eyes of a product of that state, scientist Leo Kall. Kall has invented a drug, kallocain, which denies the privacy of thought and is the final step towards the transmutation of the individual human being into a "happy, healthy cell in the state organism." For, says Leo, "from thoughts and feelings, words and actions are born. How then could these thoughts and feelings belong to the individual? Doesn't the whole fellow-soldier belong to the state? To whom should his thoughts and feelings belong then, if not to the state?"
As the first-person record of Leo Kall, scientist, fellow-soldier too late disillusioned to undo his previous actions, Kallocain achieves a chilling power and veracity that place it among the finest novels to emerge from the strife-torn Europe of the twentieth century.

193 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1940

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About the author

Karin Boye

73 books155 followers
Karin Boye was a Swedish poet and novelist.

She is perhaps most famous for her poems, of which the most well-known ought to be "Yes, of course it hurts" (Swedish: "Ja visst gör det ont") and "In motion" (Swedish: "I rörelse"). She also wrote a few novels including "Kallocain". Inspired by the rise of National Socialism in Germany, it was a portrayal of a dystopian society in the vein of Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four and Huxley's Brave New World (though written almost a decade before Nineteen Eighty-Four). In the novel, an idealistic scientist named Leo Kall invents Kallocain, a kind of truth serum.

Boye died in an apparent suicide when swallowing sleeping-pills after leaving home on April 23, 1941.

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