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on 22 January 2017
A sustained cry of rage and hatred for his characters that I find oddly invigorating in the middle of the night. There's a gleam of humour on the bottom third of page 86 - but dark, dark. I'd already read Ed Park's much shorter, superficially similar but tender and surreal Personal Days, published the following year. That also deals in schadenfreude, but why can I read THAT again and again with pleasure? Because THOSE characters still hope - there's poetry in their soul. But hey, in the Trump/Brexit era maybe hope is inappropriate. The descriptive para occupying half of page 88 is quite tasty.
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on 28 September 2017
The thing about writing a book in the first-person plural is that it’s well-nigh impossible to get everything happening in ‘immediate scene.’ Which is why most of the narrative in Joshua Ferris' Then We Came to the End, relies on its fulsome cast of characters to relate it in the third person singular. The cast - or chorus as you might call them (except strictly speaking they’re not a chorus because they're all named) - are as follows; Amber, Andy, Benny, Brizz, Carl, Chris, Dan, Don, Doug, Ernie, Genevieve, Hank, Janine, Jim, Joe, Karen, Larry, Lynn, Marcia, Mike, Paulette, Reiser, Roland, Sandy, and Tom; those are the staff at the advertising agency. There’re also Carter, Heidi, Michael, and Seth, who put in an appearance at the end when most of the characters enjoy a reunion in a wine bar ‘five years later’. There are also ‘The Building Guy’, Becky the baby, Brizz’s brother Frank (aka Bizarro Brizz) Martin, Marylin, and the mysterious Brian Bayer. I say ‘most’ of the characters assemble for a reunion – that is all except one, plus the three who have died, and to find out who these are and how and why, you will have to come right to the end.
There are more characters than in Romeo & Juliet – which is quite possibly why the families in that play get a mention. There are more characters that in a Wagner opera, and in some ways the narrative is is both Shakespeare and Wagner. I almost forgot Ralph - that’s Ralph Waldo Emerson, poet and transcendentalist. He’s not one of the cast, but his philosophy - that you don’t need to search for the truth because it will reveal itself intuitively through nature - is ever present.
‘Funny,’ ‘hilarious’, ‘entertaining,’ the epithets from the usual suspects are misleading and they should examine their motives for saying so. The beauty of being an amateur reviewer on Amazon is that one has no axe to grind.. I can almost guarantee you will laugh, but the novel is sad, painful, wistful. There is cancer, the abduction and murder of a child, the celebration of dullness and uniformity, physical and mental breakdowns, eccentricity and despair. There are multiple lay-offs (described as 'being made to walk Spanish down the hall'). There are multiple swivel chairs with concealed serial numbers, multiple floors with highly static carpets, and 'a circuitous blueprint of cubicle clusters'. It’s Wagnerian, it’s Shakespearian, and it’s experienced by ‘you and me.’
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on 27 June 2017
Not the greatest plot, not the greatest writing, but I really enjoyed it.
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on 16 January 2010
If you have ever worked for a big american corporation or gone through the stultifying strangeness of a company in a downturn, you'll enjoy this book. This book captures the boredom,humour and enforced camaraderie
that situation creates. Yes, it is written in third person plural but that just underlines the fact that this is a story about a specific group. Stick with it - its a fresh and funny read.
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on 15 February 2008
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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on 30 May 2017
I found this on my bookshelves, no idea how it got there. It turned out to be a captivating, sometimes amusing, sometimes poignant, sometimes depressing, sometimes uplifting about living the corporate life. Could be seen as very cynical, or just honest. I liked the laid back writing style, the drawing out and developing of characters. It might even be a bit dated, post 2008 crash, but reflecting the shading away from reality that is the corporate experience for many, I enjoyed it. A good, slow, entertaining read
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on 7 September 2017
I was looking forward to this - a book taking the mundane office life and the interaction of the workers sounded promising for a sharp witty perspective - but I never really got into it. It felt pointless. Maybe that was exactly the point, in which case I missed the irony. Anyway I confess I skipped to the end and it didn't leave me wanting to go back and read the middle.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 21 January 2008
The beginning of "Then we came to the end" is full of promise. It gripped me immediately and it captured a world so real that I could virtually smell the toner fluid. But ultimately it doesn't go anywhere. It's just more of the same. And while it is beautifully written, the absence of momentum takes its toll. I found it slow going after about halfway. Ironically, it does finish well and it's one of those books that seems greater in retrospect.

It is very well written and it is a novel concept. It just needed more of a plot. I'm not sure why Publisher's Review described it as "wildly funny". The tone is more darkly satirical than humorous, although there are funny parts here and there. The reviews have over-hyped this one.
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on 4 June 2011
With 131 reviews already this book doesn't really need another one but I'm really shocked at the number of one star reviews it has received. I can only assume that the readers' expectations were too high and they felt let down and so I feel compelled to redress the balance. Personally I found it highly amusing in parts and incredibly perceptive in terms of what it is like working in an office.

The characters are not especially likeable as other reviewers have pointed out - but I think that's reflective of what it's like working in an office with people you wouldn't necessarily choose to spend 8 hours a day with 5 days a week.

How Joshua so accurately captures the speculation and gossip that takes place in an office is uncanny and the conversational tone of the book lends itself very well to the narrative.

The plot essentially surrounds an advertising agency hit by the recession and what happens to the people who end up "walking Spanish". There are many laugh-out-loud moments and it's also moving, building to an exciting climax when a disgruntled worker comes to seek revenge on his colleagues.

I work in an office and the company I work for is going through similar difficulties in winning new business and so I saw many similarities. I definitely recommend the book and urge you to stick with it if it's amusing you, if it isn't then perhaps you're too much like one of the characters whose stories we hear.
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on 22 September 2008
A lot of people have been very disappointed with this book and I think it is partly down to the misleading blurbs used on the cover. Many of the quotes suggest that the book is a comedy. People buying this book might expect to be laughing out loud on the bus but it just isn't that kind of comedy. It's more the kind of well oberved comedy that makes you think "hmm, that's true." In other words the not funny type of comedy. I never felt the need to laugh once.

That said I enjoyed the book. The point of view is an interesting one. It is written from the first person plural (we). This makes the narrator seem like a hive mind in the style of Star Trek's the Borg. Though this hive is not made up of super intelligent and efficient aliens but gossipy simpletons.

We did become interested in the characters and cared about what happened to them but although the book seems to be building up to a dramatic conclusion then we came to the end and it just fizzled out.
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