The Dark Arena – Truly Dark
The book begins with a quote from Brother Karamazov and tells what happens to people who cannot love.Walter Mosca is an American GI and goes to Germany for his girl Hella. He dumps his girl Gloria and doesn’t bother for his mother or brother, who is now maimed, and cares not for the people he killed, he holds pride in his job.
It is those times when American cigarette can buy anything – gold, woman for the night, drinks, food and even a bouquet – name it and cigarettes will get them for you. It is the time when you can escape killing a man but not for taking care of a woman. They are hard times after war; the love is desperate. There is no marriage law. War has made victims of the soldiers. They lack any compassion for lost human lives, for the woman who runs after the POW trucks with stretched hands wanting the last touch of her man, for the German labour who lick on American cigarette, for …
Mosca is passionate for Hella but lacks compassion. He is so insouciant. Though he cares for Hella, he can’t love her. He does his best to keep her happy but fails to make it in the end. He is not there for her when she delivers their first child and not when she breathes her last. A sad tale that ends with Walter seeking revenge and realising that he has nothing left that he had, not even love.
Unlike Puzo’s The Godfather, which glorifies Vitto Carleone despite his fearful commanding, this one makes a sadist out of Walter Mosca for his lack of human compassion. The Godfather worked killing humans for he could not digest the pain they inflicted on others; Mosca kills men, loves none and losses it all – even his respect. The only other work that I read by him is Godfather and this(The Dark Arena) is indeed a contrasting and sad read. As you finish Godfather you feel sad for Vitto’s death, but are relieved for Michal’s takeover. Hella’s passing though makes you sad, it leaves you with no sympathy for Mosca, for he himself feels none.
If you cannot love, you will be left with nothing. If you cannot care, you will not receive anything. You will yearn for death but it will not come to you. That’s how the book begins and that is the message it gives in the end.