E–book (Sonnenfinsternis)

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • 216
  • Sonnenfinsternis
  • Arthur Koestler
  • English
  • 22 March 2019
  • null

Arthur Koestler · 4 characters

Sonnenfinsternis Read & Download É 104 Xecutioners Now alone in his prison cell accused of crimes he had never committed he began to have the first glimmerings of doubt Was his whole life a vicious. 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 sayWell so okay this book was a little bit bleak Yeah not the feel good date novel of the year not this one Darkness at Noon conveys the brutality and claustrophobia of the prison cell and interrogation room and you kind of do feel like you re there toothache and hunger and all and okay let s be honest it isn t much funThis story such as it is covers the madcap adventures of one Mr Rubashov a revolutionary who is in the process of being purged by the vaguely Stalinesue Number One leader of the Party that Rubashov helped to create Now if you think this sounds reminiscent of the delightful 1960s television show The Prisoner think again Actually I bet whoever dreamed up The Prisoner had read this book a few timesBut don t get excited There are no bicycles womb chairs or hot mod girls in striped shirts here There is only the cell and the Party and Rubashov s thoughts oh and his pince nez and the tapping guy next door and a few tortured memories but really there s pretty much only Rubashov and the PartyThis was a helpful book for a girl who grew up in Berkeley California where they put red diapers on their babies and give the children Che Guevara dolls to play with Barbie s considered counter revolutionary As a good homegrown lefty I ve always been a bit baffled by the Red Scare and why exactly people get soooooo hysterical about communism I mean obviously I understand why people get so freaked out about Stalin but I mean like communism and all that sort of thing generally and this book did give me a better sense of what that s about I think I do get a bit what it is that freaky people like Ayn Rand or whoever are reacting against it s this idea of subordinating one s self in this book the first person singular pronoun is called a grammatical fiction in service of a presumed greater good and it s about the deeply unpleasant places one arrives at in following that line of thought to its logical conclusionI didn t love this book but I thought it was successful at conveying this idea well through the form of the novel The reader is in Rubashov s head truly stuck just with him and his thoughts while he sits in solitary confinement awaiting his torture and death and what works well here is that disorienting experience of occupying the person of an individual who s in denial of his and everyone else s own individual personhood Koestler s really emphasized the individuality and humanity of all the book s characters even minor ones in a way that makes them each distinctive and memorable and this heightens the sense that there is something seriously wrong with Rubashov s world view You get or I got the eerie feeling of this empty character who s hollowed himself out into a sort of vessel for the Party but who still retains some sense of individual humanity he suddenly experiences while confronting death Then I think that there s some trick there on the reader when this soulless unsympathetic character begins experiencing cognitive dissonance in confronting his own sense of individual humanity and the reader sort of gets sucked along after him even if we started out ahead at least that s kind of what happened to meOn the one hand this book is agitprop and on the other it s a pretty decent novel but really there aren t two hands or if there are they re cuffed together or intertwined or something I mean there really isn t a novel here without the political stuff and I sort of feel like I took two main things away from this First Darkness at Noon is not just about Stalin but is a specific critiue of the left which says that at its extreme this political philosophy crushes the individual in service of Humanity Okay so this is obvious overly rehearsed stuff as is its counterpart that the right s extreme crushes Humanity in service of the individual Blah blah blah blah who cares right I mean I do But it s not newsThough I did benefit from and appreciate the anti communist perspective what I ultimately took away from this was beyond the narcissism of leftright differences When you turn out the lights those colors and distinctions go away and then there you are in a dark cell Torture and murder by the state certainly didn t start with Stalin or end with ahem any recent administrations and personally if I were arrested and tortured I wouldn t be too overly concerned with the political nuances of the state doing it I take Darkness at Noon to be saying on some level that the state is just scary Politics is dangerous because it leads to this construction of ends and means and that just doesn t usually go anywhere good I mean therein lies the road to extraordinary rendition via unmarked planes to Syria or whatever and a lotta other real icky stuffThis book got me thinking about a troubling phenomenon I ve always been stuck on which is how so many activists and such with lovely leftist politics I don t really know any right wing activists so I can t speak on that very often treat the individuals in their lives like total shit I mean clearly not all but enough to be noticeable and I ve always really wondered about that My difficulty dealing with really political people on a personal level is one major reason why I m not politically active myself and this book fed into my bias about that Can most people only really focus on either the individual in the foreground or humanity in the background Do we lack the lens to see both clearly at the same time I think Koestler s saying people can t or at least people can t in a totalitarian communist state which is perhaps not a point that needs much belaboringAnyway this was a pretty good book and I m glad that I read it While reading Kiss of the Spider Woman afterwards I couldn t stop drawing parallels between Valentin and Rubashov and thinking about how much happier Rubashov could have been if only they d given him a gay cinophile for a cellmate Alas it was not to beBy the way apparently Bill Clinton commented during the whole Lewinsky shitshow that he felt like Rubashov in Darkness at Noon which to me seems like a very shocking and self indicting statement considering the details of the novel here s a little article about that

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Sonnenfinsternis Read & Download É 104 Rubashov was the commissar In the name of mankind he had killed thousands of innocent men He had stood by while his own mistress was delivered to the Party's e. The back of my 1972 copy of Darkness at Noon claims that it is one of the few books written in this epoch which will survive it To me Darkness at Noon seems like a book on the verge of being forgotten It s almost never on the shelves in bookstores or libraries and I rarely hear it discussed I don t think it s taught in schools at least in my part of the world Perhaps with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of communism and the Cold War the importance of the great revolutions of the 20th Century and their ensuing brutal authoritarian regimes is appearing less and less relevant to the current and future global political landscape Maybe they are being interpreted as of a political aberration an anomaly rather than an important and lasting historical trend Stalin is long gone taking the immediacy of Darkness at Noon with him But this is a book to be viewed through a much wider lens I will concede that Darkness at Noon certainly doesn t resonate as clearly with the current state of the world as does Nineteen Eighty Four with which it is often compared But Darkness at Noon is nonetheless a wonderfully profound and important book It can be compared to Orwell s novel not only for its vision of a totalitarian political state but also for its penetrating insights into human nature and psychology Koestler explores the nature and substance of conviction how belief in an ideology can skew moral judgement and cause people to rationalise their actions within the ideological framework He exposes logic as a dangerously unreliable tool one that can be used to justify any course of action given a sufficiently corrupt set of starting assumptions He offers a glimpse into the means by which idealistic intentions can develop into totalitarian realities and how ideology can propagate throughout the political ranks in a process that selects for proponents and perpetuates and reinforces itself Although the tone of the writing itself may be somewhat simple and declarative the execution of these ideas and themes within the narrative is expertly done There is bleakness but also humour in the writing There is a close narrative voice that draws the reader by degrees into the mind of Rubashov It is a slow untangling of a convoluted web of beliefs actions and justifications We observe the internal oscillation in perspective that both creates and dismisses crimes when actions align with or oppose a particular ideological position and in the next moment we see the inversion of Rubashov s previous judgement when its axioms are called into uestion This is a corrupted morality based on the perpetuation of the system rather than on any real concept of right and wrongAt the core of Rubashov s story is the struggle of youth against age Those who become old earn the wisdom to see the folly of their own youthful ideals but they must now be judged by the young whose values have been shaped by the systems that those very ideals put into place There is a twisted irony to this perpetual struggle and an inevitability which favors the side with energy boldness and conviction against that with patience wisdom and reflection Stalin may be gone but human nature remains unchanged

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Sonnenfinsternis Read & Download É 104 Sham Should he resist his torturers and cry out for individual justice Or should he remain a loyal servant of the Party even at the cost of a humiliating death. Darkness at Noon is a haunting picture of life in the darkest era of Stalinist Russia inside a political prison The protagonist is Rubashov an Old Bolshevik who is arrested and tried for treason by the government that he helped create Vividly realistic Koestler paints the life of Rubashov in his prison cell his wall tapping conversations with other inmates his memories of life outside and some of the crimes he committed and the rationalizations for them as well as his confrontation with his jailers the ill fated former friend Ivanov and the brutish and violent neanderthal Gletkin of the starched sleeves and harsh methods The story moves rather uickly and the reader is drawn into the story almost immediately with the difficulty in positioning with respect to Rubashov he is a victim of an injustice and we want to feel sorry for him and yet he himself has innocent blood on his hands lots of blood from people he threw overboard in the system knowing it meant the victims certain death so he is also repulsive This ambiguity makes the book an engaging read cover to cover As many countries shift towards authoritarian regimes this is a timely book to read about the harsh realities for those who are not elites and even those elites who fall out of favor politically and are flattened by the machine of the state A must