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Extended Audio Sample Darkness at Noon: A Novel, by Arthur Koestler Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.00018738006547 out of 54.00018738006547 out of 54.00018738006547 out of 54.00018738006547 out of 54.00018738006547 out of 5 4.00 (8,859 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Arthur Koestler Narrator: Frank Muller Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Originally published in 1941, Arthur Koestler’s modern masterpiece, Darkness at Noon, is a powerful and haunting portrait of a Communist revolutionary caught in the vicious fray of the Moscow show trials of the late 1930s.

During Stalin’s purges, Nicholas Rubashov, an aging revolutionary, is imprisoned and psychologically tortured by the party he has devoted his life to. Under mounting pressure to confess to crimes he did not commit, Rubashov relives a career that embodies the ironies and betrayals of a revolutionary dictatorship that believes it is an instrument of liberation.

A seminal work of twentieth-century literature, Darkness at Noon is a penetrating exploration of the moral danger inherent in a system that is willing to enforce its beliefs by any means necessary.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “It is the sort of novel that transcends ordinary limitations. Written with such dramatic power, with such warmth of feeling, and with such persuasive simplicity that it is as absorbing as melodrama.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “One of the few books written in this epoch which will survive it.”

    New Statesman (London)

  • “A rare and beautifully executed novel.”

    New York Herald Tribune

  • “A remarkable book. A grimly fascinating interpretation of the logic of the Russian revolution, indeed of all revolutionary dictatorships, and at the same time a tense and subtly intellectualized drama.”

    Times Literary Supplement (London)

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Bur | 3/2/2017

    " I looked forward to this with great anticipation after all that I had heard of the novel and the author. It didn't disappoint either. The story is of a man who is destroyed by the government that he helped to create. The reference is to the many officials killed by Stalin during the Great Purge and Show Trials. Koestler doesn't mention Stalin by name, nor the USSR. The similarities though are too obvious to be missed. Koestler performs wonderfully in describing the protagonist's struggles to endure the sufferings, physical and mental, and to try to hold out without giving the interrogators what they want. The ending is well done though predictable. Predictable doesn't mean boring or anti-climatic. Koestler's novel doesn't fade off but maintains a fine level of tension though to the foreseeable end. Wonderfully done. "

  • 4.666666 out of 54.666666 out of 54.666666 out of 54.666666 out of 54.666666 out of 5 by Andrea | 9/18/2016

    " I've downloaded this audiobook because Eckhart Tolle mentioned it in one of his talks so I had high hopes for it. And it certainly met my expectations. Would not recommend listening to it late at night though, as it happened to me a few times that I'd fallen asleep while listening, only to then wake up in the middle of the night and hear an intense conversation from a prison setting - it can be quite unsettling at times :) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Alexei | 2/19/2014

    " Interesting and insightful but deeply flawed in its concept and examination of the communist morale, ethics and philosophy. Not to say that from the purely historical viewpoint it's so unauthentic and primitive in exposing pre- and post- revolutionary history of the Russian communist movement that it's not even funny. Koestler surely knew something about it so it's quite a surprise for me that he chose to write on these topics in such a simplistic and inadequate manner - well, it's not a historical trait so some degree of fantasy and even mixing things a bit is, of course, tolerable but the book's extreme remoteness from the historicism is annoying for a person who knows some basics about those times. Maybe the author intended to combine some very interesting and deep reflections on historical materialism, pain and suffering (both physical and spiritual), betrayal and the contradiction between the duty and the sense of guilt and humaneness with such a vulgar simplifications and misrepresentations in order to make his novel (otherwise too abstruse, abstract and intellectually demanding for an average reader) more light-minded and easy-going or the obvious agitprop literature limitations (of which this book is a perfect example despite its depth and non-triviality) left their ugly traces but this creates a very mixed feeling. More detailed review to follow (as I don't want to sound proofless). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Daniel | 2/16/2014

    " A great intellectual dialogue of conscience. Slow and deliberate pacing lends an intense thoughtfulness. So much to ruminate upon... "

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About the Author
Author Arthur Koestler

Arthur Koestler (1905–1983) was a Hungarian-British author and journalist. Koestler was born in Budapest and, apart from his early school years, was educated in Austria. In 1931 Koestler joined the Communist Party of Germany until, disillusioned by Stalinism, he resigned in 1938. A few years later, he published his novel Darkness at Noon, an anti-totalitarian work, which gained him international fame. Over the next forty-three years from his residence in Great Britain, Koestler espoused many political causes and wrote novels, memoirs, biographies, and essays. He was awarded the Sonning Prize for outstanding contribution to European culture and was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.