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Then We Came to the End: A Novel Paperback – February 26, 2008
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Amazon Best of the Month Spotlight Title, April 2007: It's 2001. The dot-com bubble has burst and rolling layoffs have hit an unnamed Chicago advertising firm sending employees into an escalating siege mentality as their numbers dwindle. As a parade of employees depart, bankers boxes filled with their personal effects, those left behind raid their fallen comrades' offices, sifting through the detritus for the errant desk lamp or Aeron chair. Written with confidence in the tricky-to-pull-off first-person plural, the collective fishbowl perspective of the "we" voice nails the dynamics of cubicle culture--the deadlines, the gossip, the elaborate pranks to break the boredom, the joy of discovering free food in the breakroom. Arch, achingly funny, and surprisingly heartfelt, it's a view of how your work becomes a symbiotic part of your life. A dysfunctional family of misfits forced together and fondly remembered as it falls apart. Praised as "the Catch-22 of the business world" and "The Office meets Kafka," I'm happy to report that Joshua Ferris's brilliant debut lives up to every ounce of pre-publication hype and instantly became one of my favorite books of the year. --Brad Thomas Parsons --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In this wildly funny debut from former ad man Ferris, a group of copywriters and designers at a Chicago ad agency face layoffs at the end of the '90s boom. Indignation rises over the rightful owner of a particularly coveted chair ("We felt deceived"). Gonzo e-mailer Tom Mota quotes Walt Whitman and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the midst of his tirades, desperately trying to retain a shred of integrity at a job that requires a ruthless attention to what will make people buy things. Jealousy toward the aloof and "inscrutable" middle manager Joe Pope spins out of control. Copywriter Chris Yop secretly returns to the office after he's laid off to prove his worth. Rumors that supervisor Lynn Mason has breast cancer inspire blood lust, remorse, compassion. Ferris has the downward-spiraling office down cold, and his use of the narrative "we" brilliantly conveys the collective fear, pettiness, idiocy and also humanity of high-level office drones as anxiety rises to a fever pitch. Only once does Ferris shift from the first person plural (for an extended fugue on Lynn's realization that she may be ill), and the perspective feels natural throughout. At once delightfully freakish and entirely credible, Ferris's cast makes a real impression. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
There were generally 2 big things that I didn't like about itL Characters & the Plot.
Characters - There were just WAY too many characters to keep track of... who looks like what, who does what, who acts like what. On top of that, throughout he entire book, they would refer to their colleagues with both first and last name... even in dialog. Who seriously does that? I don't really feel like the characters were developed enough. I didn't really *care* about any of them enough to read this on a consistent basis. It took me over 3.5 weeks to get through this measly 350-page novel which is not the norm for me.
Plot - I feel like the plot was kind of random. First a guy gets laid off in one chapter, and in the next chapter he's back in the office again because the story is suddenly being told in a flashback kind of perspective. Overall, the book was dark and depressing. I was kind of hoping for a funny take on office life a'la Office Space. There were a few moments that made me giggle, but those were few and far between. For the most part, it was pretty bleak. I think that is why I had such a hard time reading it. Typically, I can plow through a 500+ page novel in under a week. This book had under 400 pages and it took me over 3.5 weeks to get through it. There just wasn't anything about the story or the characters that made me want to keep reading, so it took me a lot longer to get through it.