Sorry for the little break since the last post about the 100 greatest novels. I had to read J. K. Rowling’s new book, A Casual Vacancy and The Cross in the Closet by Timothy Kurek. You can read the reviews I posted on amazon.com here and here. Anyways, let’s get too it.
I’ve never read anything by Koestler so this was a treat. I’m a huge fan of historical fiction (the good stuff, not the historical romances!). This is set in Communist Russia in the 1930s during the treason trials of the old Bolsheviks. These men created the current government but were being tried for treason and killed because they “posed a threat” to Stalin’s power. It follows Rubashov, a Bolshevik, while he’s in prison. There are some very poignant and emotional scenes dealing with other prisoners, sometimes only by communicating through tapping on a pipe. The book also contains much political discourse about communism vs democracy and if the ends justify the means (namely, the death of millions for the creation of the utopian country they wanted). Great read.
I wasn’t blown away by this book. There was some beautiful prose. Some passages could take your breathe away with its descriptions. That said, I just had no strong desire to come back to the book between reading. I wasn’t invested in any characters and frankly, I could care less what happened to them.
It was far into the book before I could decide who I was even supposed to be worried about. I don’t know, the book just didn’t do it for me.
Next in the 100 Greatest Novels is Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. Looking forward to reading this book again.