Night Work: A Novel

Overview

"The radio and TV are suddenly filled with white noise, there's no newspaper, the Internet is down and no one's answering the phone." "Jonas seems to be the last living creature on the planet. But what happened? And why is he still here?" A thriller and a psychological mystery, Night Work also asks profound philosophical questions.
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Overview

"The radio and TV are suddenly filled with white noise, there's no newspaper, the Internet is down and no one's answering the phone." "Jonas seems to be the last living creature on the planet. But what happened? And why is he still here?" A thriller and a psychological mystery, Night Work also asks profound philosophical questions.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

What if you woke up one morning to find that all life, both human and animal, had vanished without warning? That's what happens one ordinary July day in Vienna to Jonas, the hero of this extraordinary apocalyptic novel by Austrian author Glavinic (The Camera Killer). Jonas's newspaper hasn't been delivered, his TV isn't picking up any channels, and the Internet isn't working. Outside, the normally busy streets are empty, though clocks are running. Jonas begins to explore the city, leaving notes with his cell number in the hope that someone else is out there. As the days turn into weeks, he sets up video and audio equipment to record anything that might hint at another survivor. Predictably, he increasingly loses his grasp on reality. By leaving much to the reader's imagination, Glavinic creates a more subtle if no less nightmarish mood than such similar books as The Day of the Triffids and I Am Legend. (Nov.)

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Library Journal

In his U.S. debut, talented young Austrian author Glavinic begins with a premise reminiscent of an old Twilight Zone episode: upon waking one morning in his apartment in Vienna, a young man named Jonas finds that every other person on Earth has mysteriously disappeared. As he wanders the deserted city and ventures across Europe without finding a trace of another living being, Jonas realizes that the only clue to what has happened may lie in him. With a refreshingly zombie-free take on the postapocalyptic scenario, Glavinic has come up with an intriguing hybrid of sf and existential suspense. There are perhaps a few too many plot holes (the matter of the electricity staying on for the duration of the story, for example), but the novel manages to take some startling and truly frightening turns. Recommended for larger fiction collections and libraries looking to fill in titles on their "If you liked The Road, then try..." booklists.
—Forest Turner

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781847671844
  • Publisher: Canongate Books
  • Publication date: 11/1/2008
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 8.94 (h) x 1.01 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2009

    I was sold on the concept and reviews, not sold on the book

    It's an interesting topic -- being the last person on earth. Where has everyone gone? What to do? What to make of it? It's been done before but I was open to the "paranoia, madness and fear", so says the back cover. Unfortunately, not so much on any of the three.

    It's an excellent and intriguing concept, one where I wondered how the author might put his own spin on it. Somehow, it turns into an endless misbalance between an exciting self mind game and numbing, pointless journeys around Europe. The author tries to explore the character's thoughts and emotions but there wasn't enough to feel a connection. His reactions were rather surface and lacked substantial doubt, analytics and emotion. Yes, they were attempted but it wasn't as expansive as one might imagine. Also, the reaction of the character to his new environment was slow, too repetitive and predictable, thereby slowing down the pace of developments and ultimately boring the reader. At points in the story you find yourself telling the character and/or author "OK, you're alone, no one is there, we get it, so should you".

    Too much time is spent on describing Europe's historical cities and buildings in detail rather than evolving the mental aspect of the plot that, eventually, comes into play. Granted, it delivers fantastic insight into the environment but it devalues the mental game always trying to gain the lead. Even in the most suspenseful parts of the book, the author doesn't succeed in drawing me into the "paranoia, madness and fear". Too often, when something interesting finally begins to develop (and you the reader begin to take notice, the popular "hmm!?" part of a suspenseful book), the character responds by writing it off. Very rarely does he delve deep into the 'what-if's' and it only strips the suspense of a strong development. Instead, the author has him venture off to some other city which was just baffling.

    In the end, all the pieces to a mental game: paranoia, madness and fear, do exist. Things finally pick up, somewhat, in the last third of the book but they don't glue together. By this point, there is little care for new details or developments and you're left holding out hope to find some connection, point and purpose. The author tries to wrap everything up but he assumes you've cared enough to keep going with all the elements and that they made sense. I didn't. I was frustrated at the lack of cohesion, resolve or even semi-finality. I was very disappointed and, unfortunately, very angry that I spent the money.

    If you're looking for a nice bundled package of suspense, speed, developments, plot peaks, valleys and intriguing psychological elements then this isn't the book for you. If you appreciate plot pieces, milder pacing, thorough flashbacks, immense details and an appreciation for Europe then this may be for you.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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