- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Classics; New Ed edition (4 Nov. 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0099515415
- ISBN-13: 978-0099515418
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.1 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 527,439 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Arrival And Departure (Vintage Classics) Paperback – 4 Nov 1999
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The third novel of Arthur Koestler's trilogy.
From the Back Cover
Spring 1941: Peter Slavek has escaped from his country, where the Movement has surrendered to an oppressive dictatorship. A student-hero and survivor of interrogation and torture, Peter arrives at a tense clearing-house for refugees; among them are Odette, a beautiful child-widow; Bernard, an epicene Fascist proselytizer; and the massive but nubile psychologist, Dr Sonia Bolgar, who gives Peter the run of her flat...in return for the run of his mind.
'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
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.