Review of Under Darkening Skies

Under Darkening Skies

I rated this 4.2 of 5 stars

Under Darkening Skies by Ray Kingfisher is a tough book to judge. The quality of writing is superb. The historical circumstances and situation are very well chosen and the ultimate messages profound and well worth telling and sharing. The challenge lies in the fact that there is tremendous predictability in the narrative. The author has clearly chosen to let us know in advance where the story is going to go – so it’s clearly his choice. But throughout and as a result, you are left pondering under your thoughts about whether there will be a twist. And yet the conclusion is satisfying, the individual humanity of all protagonists also substantiated and one is left feeling very satisfied in the tale told.
There is a huge moral message here and that is to separate humanity from society. All too often individuals are held accountable for circumstances, truly beyond their own control. Babies cannot choose who they are born to. Economic and political situations colour moral and individual judgement. What this novel reminds us of is that individual character still comes still bubbles up through life events and for good and for bad this is the reality we live in.
The tale of the Lebensborn programme and it’s impersonal, the institutional pursuit of human-inspired eugenic perfection amongst our species is one that is always relevant and worth being reminded of. It challenges our own perceptions of those around us and their own circumstances and some sense that all in nurture. Kingfisher handles this topic with an amazing appeal top humanity and despite all the foreshadowing mentioned draws one through the tale. The combination of temporal narratives are well woven and the tale is supremely well told. I am very glad to have read this novel and at no time struggled to go on. I did want to see where he took it, but part of this was to see how he would spin this away from where one could not help but see it going. Is this the point in some way? We know the stories and we know our fellow humans. We know our own inclinations and we know how we are driven to react…is there a challenge in attempting to bridge our own sense of right and wrong with attempting to harmonise these knowings with coming to a greater understanding of why people react in ways that we don’t immediately understand but in appreciating their story can at least come to see why the complexity of life can lead any and all of us in directions we might not expect or be able to put into neat little boxes.

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