Things in the Night

Overview

Things in the Night explores a world on the edge of disaster -- plagued by mysterious power-outages and threatened by ominous conspiracies -- juxtaposed against images and stories of unsurpassed beauty and tenderness. Beginning with the simple but moving words, "My Dear, I feel I owe you an explanation," and ending with the passionate, lyrical, and immensely sad, "Those were beautiful years, beautiful autumn days," this astounding novel, set in Estonia near the end of the millennium, is a hymn to the very best in...

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Overview

Things in the Night explores a world on the edge of disaster -- plagued by mysterious power-outages and threatened by ominous conspiracies -- juxtaposed against images and stories of unsurpassed beauty and tenderness. Beginning with the simple but moving words, "My Dear, I feel I owe you an explanation," and ending with the passionate, lyrical, and immensely sad, "Those were beautiful years, beautiful autumn days," this astounding novel, set in Estonia near the end of the millennium, is a hymn to the very best in the human imagination and a eulogy for what humans, at their worst, may destroy.

Dalkey Archive Press

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

This man is convincing, and some readers will be thinking, "Here it is at last -- the apocalyptic, post-Soviet, metaphysical, political thriller I've been waiting for." ' -The Believer

Dalkey Archive Press

Library Journal
Set in Estonia on the eve of the millennium, Unt's cerebral 1990 novel is more for the literary set. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A postmodernist melange of ideas, impressions, jot-downs and academic trivia assumes the guise of a novel in an Estonian intellectual's English-language debut. Written in 1990 and presented here in its first translation, the text opens with writerly musings on opening a novel. Unt (1944-2005) wastes no time before separating himself from the character of the Author; let's call him Unt 2. Unt 2 plans a massive book on electricity in its every form: a physical phenomenon, a social agent, a semiotic cluster. The narrator of Unt 2's novel-more or less Unt 3-prepares to blow up a local power station. As this tantalizing conceit would force Unt 1 to usher in an actual plot, the author chooses to spend the rest of the novel collapsing this structure and telescoping it back. Characters endure in-person interrogation from their creator; journal snippets float up, equally attributable to any of the unreliable narrators; a female subject turns the novel epistolary at will. Games aside, the author does manage to unload a bulging file of electricity trivia: The reader will indeed learn fun facts about magnetic fields, radio waves and electric grids, not to mention continental drift, conspiracy theories, Native-American cosmology and, by proxy, the enviable breadth of an Estonian liberal-arts education. Unt writes in sharp shards ("A dog has been run over and had now almost merged with the asphalt"), but they're floating in aspic ("Everything is necessary for something, and something is happening somewhere all the time"). Unmitigated praise goes to translator Dickens for a game recreation of the novel's cacophony of styles. Clever but utterly lacking in structure, suggesting that seen-it-allintellectual ennui managed to beat capitalism to the westernmost nook of the Soviet Union.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781564783882
  • Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2006
  • Series: Eastern European Literature Series
  • Pages: 1
  • Sales rank: 1,453,491
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Mati Unt was an Estonian writer, essayist and theatre director. Unt's first novel, written at the age of 18 after having finished high school, was Hüvasti, kollane kass. This made him famous all over Estonia.

Dalkey Archive Press

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