Roz Morris's Reviews > Night Work

Night Work by Thomas Glavinic
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really liked it
bookshelves: love-and-loss, mind-bending-psychological, psychological

** spoiler alert ** I can't guarantee I won't give spoilers, so this review is probably going to be for people who've read Night Work and need to decompress with likeminded travellers.

Jonas wakes up one morning to find he is the last person left alive. The electricity is still running, but nothing else stirs. There are no bodies. No animals or birdsong. He is completely alone. He searches the city, leaves messages everywhere, dials stored numbers in the phones of offices and shops, gets drunk a lot, breaks into the homes of people he knew, develops forms of madness and strategies to stop himself feeling so alone.

Gradually his discomfort becomes deeper rooted and his fears more destabilising. He gives himself missions. He goes back to his childhood home, visits the camp site where the family used to holiday. He sifts through the evidence of his past and considers what remains of it, becomes increasingly aware of the finiteness of moments, the necessity to leave traces of himself and the inexorable onward tick of time, heedless of the cycles of humanity.

This is a bold and simple idea, thoughtfully executed, that's left me pleasantly ruminating several days after finishing. It provokes thematic questions but it's also a story, about a man who is alone, re-evaluating his life, missing his girlfriend, wondering what became of the people he knew, and trying to stave off madness. At times the narrative is confusing and you feel you've gone round in circles - but this seems to fit with the material so I'll forgive him that. The prose is simple, but still able to worm into those enormous ideas when necessary.

It gives you a new colour to think in. Now if I find myself alone on a still day, miles from any car sounds, train sounds or other signs of life, I am thinking the same thoughts as Jonas. How much do other people give us our sense of reality and self? What does it mean to be truly alone? It doesn't feel wonderful, but this book is.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
April 14, 2015 – Shelved
April 14, 2015 – Shelved as: love-and-loss
April 14, 2015 – Shelved as: mind-bending-psychological
April 14, 2015 – Shelved as: psychological
April 14, 2015 – Finished Reading

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