I read Longo's book "The Last Man Standing" after seeing a review in the FT. Since I have a weakness for post-apocalyptic fiction it seemed like an attractive read. It was absolutely enthralling, I couldn't stop until the end and even today, almost a month later I find myself remembering the characters and the situations. The book describes the aftermath of an unnamed catastrophe happening in Italy in the near future. The main character is a former professor and well-known author as he tries to save his daughter and stepson from oblivion at the hands of marauding maniacs while keeping them from freezing and starving. An attractive trait of the protagonist is that he seems totally unsuited for survival, being bookish and shy and not physically strong (contrary to Cormac McCarthy's protagonist in The Road, who seemed frustratingly exceptional). I won't give the plot away, but there's more to him than meets the eye. However, catastrophe actually brings redemption to this man after a sexual scandal that destroyed his career and his family many years before the events narrated. The book is wonderfully lyrical in its descriptions of places and animals and the dialogues are enthralling. Please be aware that the book is probably unsuitable for younger readers on their own, because some parts of it are perhaps too brutal (it contains explicit torture and rape scenes). For adults it is a great read.