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Darkness at Noon
by Arthur Koestler

 

216 pages Reissue edition (April 1, 1984)
Bantam Books; ISBN: 0553265954

This splendid novel is set in the tumultuous Soviet Union of the 1930s during the treason trials. Rubashov, the protagonist and a hero of the revolution, is arrested and jailed for things he has not done, though there is much about the current Soviet state that veered from his ideals as a revolutionary. His investigators, Ivanov and Gletkin, seek a public confession and interrogate him using a number of methods. Through the ordeal, Rubashov reaches an epiphany or two while his interrogators suffer the cruel fate of the Soviet machine. Darkness at Noon succeeds as political/historical novel, but even more so as a refreshing tale of the human spirit.

articles and reviews
May 25, 1941
The Riddle of Moscow's Trials
By HAROLD STRAUSS

Here, in a splendid novel, is an effective explanation of the riddle of the Moscow treason trials. It is the sort of novel that transcends ordinary limitations, and that may be read as a primary discourse in political philosophy. But this observation should frighten no one from the book, for it is written with such dramatic power, with such warmth of feeling, and with such persuasive simplicity that it is as absorbing as melodrama. It is a far cry from the bleak topical commentaries that sometimes pass as novels. It does not dwell on the merely circumstantial aspect of the trials; it bares no secrets; it seeks no escape in mystical generalizations about oriental psychology. The trials were peculiarly Russian in their garish externals. But at their core they were a clash between programmatic absolutism and humanitarian democracy. [read more]

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