Kallocain (1940)

Karin Boye

06 Jun 2020

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Before 1984 there was Kallocain. Leo Kall is a loyal citizen (“fellow soldier”) of the World State and an ambitious chemist who discovers a compound that acts as a powerful truth serum. In a totalitarian state such a weapon against treasonous thoughts is irresistable. Everyone is guilty of unpure emotions and thoughts, and anyone can be arrested if denounced by a fellow citizen and proven guilty beyond doubt when administered with kallocain…

Karin Boye was a swedish writer shaped by the political and economic cataclysms of the 1930s and 40s. She wrote Kallocain a year before her death by suicide.

Disturbing and captivating this book is a dystopian classic. I liked it very much.

“At least I’m alive - in spite of all they have taken from me - and right now I know that what I am is on the way somewhere. I have seen death’s power spread out across the world in wider and wider circles - but must not life’s power also have its circles, even though I haven’t been able to see them?”