This wickedly funny, big-hearted novel about life in the office signals the arrival of a gloriously talented new writer.
The characters in Then We Came To The End cope with a business downturn in the time-honored way: through gossip, secret romance, elaborate pranks, and increasingly frequent coffee breaks. By day they compete for the best office furniture left behind and try to make sense of the mysterious pro-bono ad campaign that is their only remaining "work."
Speaking personally (and let's face it, all reviews are nothing more nor less than one person's opinion, even when written in the third party under the banner of a renowned newspaper!) I found Then We Came To The End a difficult read (despite having spent a decade working in a large ad agency). That is not to say that it is necessarily a bad book but that the gushing reviews on the cover, and in many places in the media, telling me that this was a wildly funny book acted as something of a cold shower to my enjoyment. Knowing I was supposed to be laughing but finding myself not was like watching one of those over-eager sitcoms where the laugh track punctuates the actors' most banal lines, killing whatever residue of humor might have been found.
To describe Then We Came To The End as "wildly funny", or to suggest that it will resonate with anyone who's ever worked in an office (as some reviewers do) seems to be over-egging things, and also does a disservice to a book that has more to offer than just a good laugh, in that it serves up a, sometimes profound, insider's view of a particular time, place and culture - and not just the funny parts, but the dull and stupid bits as well, not to mention the sad and downright strange. (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Newsday - Maud Newton
A novel so complex it may well deserve Jim Shepard's assessment:'the 'Catch-22' of the business world.
San Francisco Chronicle
An assured debut and an entertaining read.
Los Angeles Times - Darcy Cosper
Heartfelt and delivered in solemn deadpan. It may even be, in its own modest way, a great American novel.
The Washington Post -James P. Othmer
[W]e conclude that categorizing Then We Came to the End as anything other than an original and inspired work of fiction would be doing it a great disservice.
Fabulous....with the sort of exuberance and energy that marked Jay McInerney's `Bright Lights, Big City.'
Wonderfully comic. He knows, like other masters of the form, that great comedy has a hard bite.
Library Journal - Stephen Morrow
With so many books on office life, it's nice to see someone add fresh spark and originality to the subject.
This debut novel about life in a Chicago advertising agency succeeds as both a wickedly incisive satire of office groupthink and a surprisingly moving meditation on mortality and the ties that bond...The funhouse mirror here reflects the office dynamic at its most petty and profound.
Starred Review. At once delightfully freakish and entirely credible, Ferris's cast makes a real impression.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by mbg1968 Me too... I had read a lot of positive reviews about it so I tried it. It was funny at first, but I got too bored and quit about half way through.
Rated of 5
by Penny Finally stopped before the end... I found this a well written book. But, I finally got fed up "listening to" a whole group of "mystified" slackers whining about their fates in life, love and layoffs. When I realized I didn't care for any of the characters or their stories I... Read More
Joshua Ferris writes:
"I was born in 1974 in Danville,
Illinois, a small town just over the
Indiana border. I went back recently and
the house where I grew up had taken
something out of Alice in Wonderland and
shrunk to half the size of what I
remembered it being. In 1984 my mother,
sister, brother and I moved with my
step-father to Cudjoe Key, Florida,
where I learned how to fish, boat,
snorkel, and work. At ten I had my own
landscaping company for Cudjoe residents
happy to pay three bucks an hour to have
their weeds pulled and lawns mowed. I
had my first proper job at Godfather's
Pizza in 1985, busing tables and washing
I moved back to Illinois, to Downers
Grove, a suburb of Chicago, where I
attended high school, after which I went
to the University of Iowa, where I
received a BA in...
From the author of the international sensation Fight Club, a powerful (and hilarious) novel about love and strife between mothers and sons, the addictive power of sex, the terrors of aging, the ugly truth about historical theme parks, and much else. (Excerpt contains explicit content).
In a novel that is at once uproariously funny and achingly sad, Allison Pearson captures the guilty secret lives of working women--the self-recrimination, the comic deceptions, the giddy exhaustion, the despair--as no other writer has.
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