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Then We Came to the End: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Joshua Ferris
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (160 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
Kindle Price: £4.35 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Book Description

Joshua Ferris's Then We Came to the End is one of the most acutely observed, dazzling American debuts of recent years.



They spend their days - and too many of their nights - at work. Away from friends and family, they share a stretch of stained carpet with a group of strangers they call colleagues.



There's Chris Yop, clinging to his ergonomic chair; Lynn Mason, the boss, whose breast cancer everyone pretends not to talk about; Carl Garbedian, secretly taking someone else's medication; Marcia Dwyer, whose hair is stuck in the eighties; and Benny, who's just - well, just Benny. Amidst the boredom, redundancies, water cooler moments, meetings, flirtations and pure rage, life is happening, to their great surprise, all around them.



Then We Came to the End is about sitting all morning next to someone you cross the road to avoid at lunch. It's the story of your life and mine.



'Very funny, intense and exhilarating . . . For the first time in fiction, it has truly captured the way we work' The Times



'As dazzling as Franzen's The Corrections and as confident as Tartt's The Secret History . . . Exceptional, very funny' Daily Telegraph



'Slick, sophisticated and very funny, Ferris's cracking debut has modern Everyman fighting for his identity in an increasingly impersonal world' Daily Mail



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 acclaimedThe Unnamed. In 2010 he was selected for the New Yorker's prestigious '20 under 40' list. 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.


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Product Description

Review

'A brilliant account of the desperations of working life and it
had the singular distinction of making me laugh aloud' -- Ian Jack, Guardian

'Brilliant, funny, stomach-turningly accurate . . . an
attention-grabbing display of virtuosity . . . Descriptions of the ordinary
are so good they need no elaboration' -- Observer

'Expansive, great-hearted and acidly funny . . . Perceptive and
darkly entertaining' -- New York Times Book Review

'Savagely funny yet kind-hearted tale of office life . . . You
won't find a sharper portrait' -- Observer

'Wildly funny debut . . . At once delightfully freakish and
entirely credible'
-- Publishers' Weekly

`Darkly funny and often tragic - a Catch-22 of the cubicles - [it]
unravels the chaotic reality behind the unified corporate identity' -- Saturday Telegraph

`Slick, sophisticated and very funny, Ferris's cracking debut has
modern Everyman fighting for his identity in an increasingly impersonal
world' -- Daily Mail

`What looks at first glance like a sweet-tempered satire of
workplace culture . . . may even be a great American novel' -- LA Times

`[A] formidable first novel which the whole of America is talking
about' -- Sunday Times

Observer

'Savagely funny yet kind-hearted tale of office life . . . You
won't find a sharper portrait'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 489 KB
  • Print Length: 401 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0316016381
  • Publisher: Penguin (6 Mar. 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI92DE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (160 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #38,668 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
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Having picked up this book on the off-chance, read it and loved it, I wanted to see what other people thought. Well, it seems that a good half of them hated it. This amazed me but also made me wonder whether it was a sign that the author was doing something right. The consistent five star novels out there have their fans and seem to elicit adulation on the one hand and indifference on the other. Whatever the truth, for me this was an exhilarating experience - I'd got(ten) used to the idea of the American novel (which still can't shake itself free of the Great American Novel cliché -there isn't a Great Moldovan Novel, is there?) - being a sprawling exercise in humo(u)rless literary machismo. For me this was light, funny, observant and populated by beautifully-drawn characters. Even though it's precisely located in history at the end of the dotcom bubble of the late 90s, it hasn't dated. It didnt succumb to the temptation to introduce anything more murderous than a sacking ('walking Spanish down the hall'), yet was the sort of novel that hooks you on the first page and on the second page tells you 'you were right to be hooked' and on the fifteenth page says to you 'you know, you might actually have stumbled on something that will still be read in twenty-five years' - and by the end leaves you with a sense of space and freedom and a sense of admiration that has long ago ceased to be reluctant. It is even unfettered by its obvious desire to be sprawling and magisterial and American. For a first novel it is daringly original, and the virtuosic playing with narrative viewpoint signified by the fantastic title (taken from Don Delillo) is not just restricted to the use of the first person plural. I was concerned in the beginning that the sense of paradox inherited from Heller would dominate the book, but it was a short-lived worry. How anyone could have found this dull is beyond me.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
This is an intriguing book which provides a dry, original and darkly humourous commentary on the superficiality of modern corporate life and the dangers of the American Dream, as well as a reflection on individual creativity and resourcefulness. It is a very interesting read if you've got time and are feeling generous.

Like other reviewers I was so tempted to can this book after about 100 pages. I'd picked it up for it's quirkiness, but this started to pall for me about a third of the way in. Thank goodness, however, that I made a resolution this year - the National Year of Reading - to always finish any book I start, no matter how painful, no matter how long it takes...

It does take a while, but eventually this book really delivers. In the opening chapters Ferris makes our reading experience as irritatingly meaningless as the superficial lives he describes. As readers we learn something of how it feels to work day-in-day-out in an office where the true meaning of life is obscured by silliness, such as who's got whose chair, or how to write ad copy for products that people don't yet know they desperately need.

Then, about half way through, the style and narrative viewpoint suddenly shift to reveal the heart of the book, to tell part of the story that this book is really about.

The section entitled "The thing to do and the place to be" is a wonderful piece of writing, which surprises us later in the book as well. It describes a 43 year old woman's experience directly before she is due in surgery to have a mastectomy. It is a desperately dark and exceedingly moving piece of writing, which, with a few minor tweaks, would stand alone as a short story within itself - and is worth getting hold of the entire book just to read.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read! 15 Feb. 2008
Format:Paperback
There is a danger that if you write a novel about the mundanity and boredom of office life the result will be boring and mundane. That appears to be the criticism of those who didn't enjoy this, and yet there can be beauty, drama and pathos in such a life lived which Ferris captures this well.

There are a number of great comic set ups all of which pay off and the final section which looks back with the benenfit of hindsight is both poignant and moving.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well, I liked it 5 Aug. 2010
By Saffron
Format:Paperback
I can perhaps understand why this book has garnered so many critical reviews. It has a very gentle pace, and the first half of the story is told from an intriguing "4th person" viewpoint. The narrator is never identified, which could potentially be frustrating for those who are expecting more of an easy-going relaxed Holiday-Read.

The first half of the book is also a little confusing and disjointed, with events unfolding via various 3rd parties, jumping back and forth in time, and narrated by the 4th party. You have to want to read it, and you have to work at it. However, there are many "smile" moments. Having worked in a large office, forced to associate with people I would never choose to be friends with, I can completely identify with the premise of the book.

The middle and second half of this novel are more cohesive and, for those 1 and 2 star reviewers, easier to understand. The tale of the night before Lynn's surgery is particularly touching, as is almost every story Benny tells. I can easily envisage this being made into a film with Benny as the main protagonist. It is very like "The Office" with the same comedic elements but far, far darker.

On the whole, I really enjoyed it. I have read many modern novels where at best I found it difficult to "like" the main characters, and at worst actually thought I would cross the road to avoid them (Karl Blomkvist of the Dragon Tattoo series springs to mind!) However I found myself warming to pretty much every character in this book. They are introduced via brief but intelligent thumbnail sketches; the characters are cleverly fleshed out via dialogue and narration and then stripped away layer by layer until you see the vulnerability at their core. You can laugh at their foibles and empathise with their compulsions.
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