Werfel's reputation -- the popularity of Bernadette, in both book and screen fern, his role as prophet evidenced by The Eternal Road and as historian through Muse Dagh -- all merge to ensure a reasonable expectancy for favorable reception of this, his strongest and his last, work. He himself, before his death, described the book as a ""travel story"" -- travel in space and time. The period is about A.D. 101, 945 -- as ""F.W.,"" clad in the rumpled burial garments of today's custom, finds himself in a world which might well be called an atomic nightmare, from which all semblance of beauty has gone. There -- a relic of ""primitive man"" to people of the era -- he is invited guest at a wedding, and his three day sojourn involve him in the culmination of the strange fears of the people that the primitive jungle is creeping up on them. Man's whole concept of life and the world has changed (not for the better most readers will feel), -- birth and death and rating, the routine of living, the concentration of work in one group of workers, the absence of the problems of industrial man -- and yet the survival of a restless spirit. Difficult to read -- a strange lingo. The market that might parallel to some extent Austin Wright's ISLANDIA (1942).