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Then We Came to the End (Joshua Ferris)

Saturday March 27, 2010

This is the kind of writing that I love.  Dark, smart and clever, with a heart.  The world that Ferris creates in Then We Came to the End is alive from start to finish. I haven’t read a funny book in a while and after reading a post over at Book Snob I decided to move this one up on the list.  Katy was most certainly right about this one.

As the yellow Post-it’s on the cover indicate, this is a book about an office.  An advertising agency to be specific.  The New York Times review remarked on how the characters could have walked out of The Office in either it’s US or BBC versions.   As a fan of the show, it should be no surprise that one of the things I enjoyed most about this book was the characters.  From enigmatic Lynn Mason to wildly inappropriate Tom Mota and chatty, do-gooder Benny Shassburger, each of the characters felt familiar.  Ferris chose just the right details to reveal their inner lives.

It’s not just the characters that draw the reader into this world, it’s also the voice with which Ferris has chosen to write.   Although there are small segments of the book that don’t adhere to this, much of the story is written in first person plural.  The book opens with the lines, “We were fractious and overpaid.  Our mornings lacked promise”.  Immediately the reader is drawn into this world, actually becoming a part of it.  The language is familiar and when it’s not familiar it’s funny.  After becoming bored with all of the traditional ways to refer to getting laid off, the group adopts a new phrase.  The next one to go is suddenly “walking Spanish down the hall” and making sure that you are not the next one to be walking Spanish is all that really matters.

If you are looking for something that will make you laugh out loud, Then We Came to the End is your book.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Tuesday March 30, 2010 11:56 am

    I thought this one of the most hilarious books I have read in a long time. Seems like you enjoy the dark, cynical humor…? My husband also read “This is Where I Leave You” by Jonathan Tropper, which he insists is in the same vein. Check it out!

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