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The Unnamed

The Unnamed [Kindle Edition]

Joshua Ferris
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Product Description


The first great book of the decade (GQ)

A stunner, an unnerving portrait of a man stripped of civilization's defences (New Yorker)

A writer almost uniquely in tune with modern life . . . Ferris's flashes of brilliance are many (Evening Standard)

Original, affecting. An almost unbearable love story, between remissions of intense connection and the human inevitability of parting, between the haven of marriage and all that lies beyond (Observer)

At once riveting, horrifying and deeply sad. Fiction with the force of an avalanche, snowballing unstoppably (San Francisco Chronicle)

Hugely readable, engaging, original. What an imagination - and what a memorable conceit (Literary Review)

As hard to pin down as its hero, yet as readable as The Corrections (Guardian)

Immensely readable, a grand American novel (New Statesman)

Seizes readers by the lapels with a story that feels serious and mysterious ... He has teased ordinary circumstances into something extraordinary, which is exactly what we want our fiction writers to do (Economist)

Ferris writes hauntingly on the fragility of our minds and on the compulsions that drive us, despite our best intentions (Vogue)

Brave and masterful. A writer of the first order (Boston Globe)

An accomplished and daring work (Los Angeles Times)

Product Description

Joshua Ferris's The Unnamed has been hailed as 'the first great book of the decade' (GQ).

In an America gone awry with strange weather, New York lawyer Tim Farnsworth suffers a peculiar affliction: the inability to stop walking. While his wife, Jane, struggles to keep their family together in the face of the unfathomable, Tim alone must battle to survive pitiless surroundings, encounters with hostile strangers, and the unrelenting demands of his own body. These challenges force Tim to ask life's most pressing questions, which he answers in a final return on foot across country to reunite with his wife and daughter.

Stripped of all defences, and the sense of hope that lies at the very heart of the American dream, Farnsworth is compelled to confront the terrifying reality of what it is to be a human being.

'A writer almost uniquely in tune with modern life . . . Ferris's flashes of brilliance are many' Evening Standard

'Original, affecting. An almost unbearable love story, between remissions of intense connection and the human inevitability of parting, between the haven of marriage and all that lies beyond' Observer

'A stunner, an unnerving portrait of a man stripped of civilization's defenses' New Yorker

Joshua Ferris was born in Illinois in 1974. He is the author of Then We Came to the End (2007), which was nominated for the National Book Award and longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, and the highly acclaimed The Unnamed. In 2010 he was selected for the New Yorker's prestigious '20 under 40' list. His most recent novel, To Rise Again at a Decent Hour, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2014 and the Dylan Thomas Prize 2014. He lives in New York.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 474 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (25 Feb 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00390BE8K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #39,426 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Joshua Ferris was born in Illinois in 1974. He is the author of Then We Came to the End (2007), which was nominated for the National Book Award and longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, and The Unnamed. In 2010 he was selected for the New Yorker's prestigious '20 under 40' list. He lives in upstate New York.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Walking, a gentle pastime? Not in this case 22 Feb 2010
This is a great book for walkers, but in a rather perverse way. Not for lawyer Tim (the main focus of the book), a gentle stroll through quiet countryside, but rather a compulsive need to take-off, in an OCD type of way, a driven emigration from family, work and comfort into the snowy outer wastes of the city, however inadequately dressed, whatever the time of day and night.

Tim walks until he is exhausted and then gets found among the rubbish bins behind a Safeway, or knocks on someone's door asking for help. He phones home and begs his wife to come out and save him, but has no idea where he is. Telephoning the emergency services for help is pointless when you can't give your location. This it a terrible and unique affliction which confounds doctors and specialists and could easily lead Tim to his death.

Tim doesn't know why he is possessed of this dangerous ailment. He gets found miles from home and later a toe drops off from frost-bite. His ambulatory episodes threaten his family life, his job and his mental stability. His compulsion becomes life-threatening: he takes off without food or water, without money, and soon his wife makes him wear a rucksack all the time containing basic provisions. The hiking boots and two pairs of socks do not look good in the law office.

Ferris is brilliant at describing the corporate consternation which his affliction causes in his office. Tim seems to have a very high embarrassment threshold and somehow fails to realise that his problems just don't fit into the environment of a firm of prestigious lawyers. Poor Tim has hard lessons to learn and Ferris makes his readers cringe with embarrassment at Tim's very public decline.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What would we do if... 4 July 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A mysterious illness takes over the life of Tim Farnsworth, a successful New York lawyer. Inexplicably, for no apparent reason, he needs to... walk. Walk, walk, walk. For miles and miles. Without stopping. No matter what. A comfortable life taken for granted, a lovely, devout wife, a rebellious but deep-down sweet teenage daughter, a beautiful house in the suburbs, the trust and respect of his working associates, all is at stake for the unnamed condition which is disrupting Tim's and everyone's life and baffling doctors.

This is a disquieting novel. Indeed, a most unusual subject. I can relate to the feelings of frustration reflected in some reviews, it IS a frustrating book to some degree and quite depressing. I think however that frustration and powerlessness are exactly what the writer wants to convey. Some desolate, terrifying condition that would force anyone to face life when "something" beyond control takes over, and come to terms with "it".

I have the British print of this book. Some of the comments & praises by major newspapers utilise the adjective "funny" among others. Well, I think there is absolutely nothing "funny" about this book. If some situations border the ridiculous, it is because they befit the circumstances and the narrative. Nothing to smile about. On the other hand, there is definitely something to weep for. I think the author did a brilliant job conveying the tenderness and sense of desperation of his characters. The inner fights, the sense of abandonment, even some more hopeful, more uplifting situations, it is all described beautifully, the narrative... walks flawlessly, in a contorted path that eventually comes to an epilogue. Getting to the last page of the book was a relief I must admit, but it has been, in my opinion, a true page-turner. I would definitely recommend this book. Well done to the author.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Compelling scenario, loses its way 13 Aug 2012
This is a brave, intelligent and compelling read. It is the type of novel that should be published and celebrated, as it is stylish and highly topical: indeed captures many of our contemporary fears, issues and thoughts. For example there is the relationship between mind and body (what controls us?) the denigration of our environment and social structures (fossils fuel consumption/capitalism) and stress on family life and friendship (all those issues...and who knows what else?)
The dilemma of the slick lawyer who has a physical compulsion to go awol, go walkabout, grips from the start.
Ferris has an efficient, smart prose style, and for much of the novel he gripped my attention by his narrative, and the enigmas of the story. He particularly captures the razor-shark atmosphere of top lawyers practice, as it were. The family relationships of Tim with his wife Jane and daughter are v well done, convincing - ordinary, yet interesting.
But I was really disappointed by the section "Letting it Go", as Tim's desperate situation in the world seems to extend purposelessly - into the areas of bathos and self-pity. The potential suspense of the novel - in particular the menacing stranger who accosts him on Brooklyn Bridge - is allowed to fizzle out into a dull explanation. When he suddenly doesn't have a good story to tell the efficient prose style begins to sound a bit hollow.
However you can see how brilliantly Ferris captures the modern working life, as from his debut novel. He is among the most fascinating contemporary American writers, asking the searching questions.
He doubts the mind, but work like this shows that the mind is our only defence.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars A compelling idea which loses its way
I discovered Joshua Ferris' debut novel 'Then We Came to the End' by accident in a charity shop and having been greatly impressed, was very much looking forward to 'The Unnamed'. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Smurfy
1.0 out of 5 stars Depressing
Just -almost- finished reading this book and had to give up with a couple of pages to go - it was just too depressing to finish. Read more
Published on 10 Aug 2011 by Seán Mc Gurk
5.0 out of 5 stars Ferris Doesn't Put a Foot Wrong
Second novels run the risk of being a bit of a let down - especially, as is the case with Joshua Ferris his debut offering was so good. Not in this case. Read more
Published on 14 Jun 2011 by N. B. Werner
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating story
Really liked the premise of this story - how troubling it is to have a condition of some sort which has no name. I am sure many undiagnosed people will relate to it. Read more
Published on 3 Jun 2011 by judith
4.0 out of 5 stars a walk on the dark side
This is a powerful and disturbing novel but don't let that put you off because it's far more than one man's battle with his demons. Read more
Published on 10 Mar 2011 by Truth Seeker
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping
I found the story captivating and what I feel shows the true power of the story is that it stayed with me afterwards, still provoking thought and emotion.
Published on 7 Mar 2011 by KRK
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificently written piece of literature
The extent to which this book drew me in was incredible; I had picked it up whilst travelling and was constantly looking forward to being sat on a train or a plain for a few hours... Read more
Published on 18 Feb 2011 by Winston Craysimon
3.0 out of 5 stars Misstep
Joshua Ferris is a good writer and I'm sure he will go on to write something great, but this is a minor work. Read more
Published on 22 Feb 2010 by Mooch
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