cover image Night Work

Night Work

Thomas Glavinic, , trans. from the German by John Brownjohn. . Canongate, $15 (375pp) ISBN 978-1-84767-184-4

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.)