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Arrival and Departure (Penguin Modern Classics) [Paperback]

Arthur Koestler
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jun 1969 Penguin Modern Classics
This was the third novel of Arthur Koestler's trilogy on ends and means - the other two are THE GLADIATORS and DARKNESS AT NOON - and the first he wrote in English. The central theme is the conflict between morality and expediency, and in this novel Koestler worked it out in terms of individual psychology. Peter Slavek starts out as a brave young revolutionary, but suffers a breakdown. On the analyst's couch he is made to discover, in Koestler's own words, 'that his crusading zeal was derived from unconscious guilt'.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (Jun 1969)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140029583
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140029581
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 11.2 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 785,659 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Arthur Koestler has developed a descriptive power which is at once irresistible and unbearable...It is brilliantly done. Not the least impressive thing is the incidental picture, casually built up by a touch of colour here and there, of the city itself, with its polyglot population of every nation." Daily Telegraph "His attitude is profoundly and honourably intellectual in that he sees life as a series of mental and moral problems to be solved, or at least to be clearly stated...I have criticised Arrival and Departure not as a current novel by which criterion the faintest doubt of its supremacy would be out of place, but as the enduring work of art which I believe it may prove to be. Its qualities are not only of a high but of an extremely rare order." New Statesman

Book Description

The third novel of Arthur Koestler's trilogy. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a brilliant political novel 18 Oct 2002
By A Customer
I first read this book about two years ago and have re-read it several times since. I read the trilogy (Gladiators, Darkness at Noon, Arrrival and Departure) in order and so did this one last and it's the best of the three.
the best thing about it is the way that it pulls apart what drives people to hold certain political views, getting beyond whether they think a certain political philosophy has the correct answers into what psychological factors are at play. why do many people on the Left come from relatively good background when the project of the Left is to improve the lot of the poor and disenfranchised?
it ends with the main character aware that non-political indidents have formed his political outlook, and that his views are as much about his character as about whether he believes in the communist ideology, but he decides in any case that some things are worth fighting for.
well worth reading whether you are political or not if you're interested in what makes political types tick.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressive piece of writing 28 Oct 2007
Format:Mass Market Paperback
An interesting novel written and set during the second world war, focusing on the character Peter Slavek who is a Communist rebel who has been tortured by the Nazi-supporting authorities in a nameless East European country and is now in a nameless neutral country. There is in fact no naming of countries and political movements in the novel; it is all done through allusion and the focus is not on political events but on the moral dilemmas faced by Peter as he grapples about whether to flee to safety in America or join the British army and how he tries to come to terms with the physical and mental tortures he has suffered. A bit harrowing in the middle section, but a good read by a gifted writer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A logical follow-on to 'Darkness at Noon' 25 May 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the last installment in Koestler's trilogy starting with The Gladiators (Vintage Classics) and Darkness at Noon. While the auto-biographical element of some disenchantment with the communist movement (Koestler himself was a member until 1937) is evident, the main topic revolves around the psychological reasons for becoming a communist in the first place.

The story follows Peter Slavek, an Eastern European communist, who after being tortured by the local regime that already sided with Nazi Germany, manages to escape to a neutral country. While the initial plan is to join the British in fighting Germany, a moral dilemma of sorts develops, where an alternative of a life in the US, free from obligations presents itself.

In the process Koestler has him submit to a round of psychotherapy, to establish his motives for becoming a communist in the first place, and where the desire to fight for the lost cause (of sorts) comes from. This is by far the most interesting aspect of the book and Koestlers widespread knowledge of the field (a modern reader will need to keep in mind that the book was written between 1941 and 1943) clearly shows. In a way it comes across as the author searching and justifying his own championship of lost causes, something he continued to engage in till the end.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I have ever read 29 April 2001
By A Customer
Arthur Koestler has had some bad press - but he remains one of the political writers of the post war period. This book is revolves around the breakdown and recovery of an 'ex' communist. The plot sounds dull - but the way the book is written captured my imagination. I would recommend this to anyone who loves Orwell or Huxley.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The book was boring to read 10 April 2013
By MoilLA
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought the book to find about the WW1 but it turned out to be a novel instead, so I did not bother reading the book any more.
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