The End of Nightwork | Granta

  • Published: 05/01/2023
  • ISBN: 9781783789528
  • Granta Books
  • 288 pages

The End of Nightwork

Aidan Cottrell-Boyce

Pol suffers from a very rare hormonal disorder that ages him erratically; when he was thirteen, his body aged ten years overnight, and now in his early thirties, he still has the outward appearance of a twenty-three-year-old. But with his condition dormant, Pol and his wife Caroline manage to live an ordinary life in Kilburn. They’re happy enough, even if having a young child has put something of a strain on their marriage. That and Pol’s obsessive interest in the writings of an obscure seventeenth-century Puritan prophet, Bartholomew Playfere, and his premonitions of ecological disaster and the end of the world.

But while Pol is failing to complete his research on Playfere, he encounters a radical new movement that argues that all economic and political events are part of an aeon-long struggle between the old and the young – that the ‘hoarist’ habit of violence, their need to conquer, has also affected how they treat the planet. The leader of this popular movement predicts an imminent inter-generational conflict – father against son, mother against daughter – that echoes Playfere’s own prophecies.

Against this increasingly fraught backdrop, Pol’s dormant condition threatens to resurface – putting both the safety and happiness of his family at risk.

Rapturous, disruptive and quietly, complexly devastating, The End of Nightwork combines satire, elegy and fantastic portraiture to thrilling effect. A myriad of tender, terrifying cataclysms told with wit and true originality. A reckoning

Eley Williams, author of Attrib. and The Liar's Dictionary

A strange and wonderful debut. A meditation on history and a lovingly-drawn portrait of a marriage, Aidan Cottrell-Boyce's novel goes straight to the anxious heart of our present, preapocalyptic moment with grace, wisdom, empathy and a boatload of brilliant one-liners

Paul Murray, author of Skippy Dies

The End of Nightwork is a rare thing; a novel of ideas that also happens to be deeply moving. There is wit and erudition here, but never at the expense of the book's abiding tenderness, insight and empathy

Keiran Goddard, author of Hourglass

The Author

Aidan Cottrell-Boyce was born in Liverpool in 1987. He completed his PhD at the Divinity Faculty of the University of Cambridge in 2018. During his doctoral studies he ran as a Parliamentary candidate for the Green Party. He is the author of two academic books: Jewish Christians in Puritan England (2020) and Israelism in Modern Britain (2021). His short fiction has appeared in The White Review and Granta. He currently works as a postdoctoral Research Fellow at St Mary’s University in London. His debut novel The End of Nightwork will be published by Granta in January 2023.

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