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The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris

The Unnamed (edition 2010)

by Joshua Ferris

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1,019878,334 (3.5)45
Title:The Unnamed
Authors:Joshua Ferris
Info:Reagan Arthur / Back Bay Books (2010), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris

Recently added byFPLD, Santas_Slave, giacomosb, danettem, yourotherleft, annabw, novunus, private library, erigby8
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Showing 1-5 of 84 (next | show all)
So what I love about Joshua Ferris is that both of his books are utterly original and he's not afraid to go for what seems like a completely whacked-out idea. (Not Yann-Martel level of whacked out, because who could ever match that, but whacked out nonetheless.) The other thing I love about Joshua Ferris is that sentence by sentence, his writing is just lovely. It's not written in a flashy way (like, for example, Netherland), but it's really very quietly beautiful.

But here's the problem: this book is kind of a hot mess, the middle especially. I think it might have been brilliant if the murder subplot had been stripped out and he had published it as a novella instead. I don't think the premise is sustainable for 320 pages (or 4500 Kindle locations, as the case may be). That's a lot of pages for a book with exactly two fleshed-out characters. (If I were editing this book, I would also put poor Becka out of her misery. Her only role is to be fat and to e-mail Tim with bad news.) It does seem like Ferris had some kind of page quota in mind and just meandered around until he got to it. I'm sure that's not the case, but that's how I felt while I was reading it.

Having said that, the beginning is really really good and the last few pages (500 Kindle locations) brought tears to my eyes and I actually don't cry over books all that much. Someone compared it to Time Traveller's Wife, and I get that, but I think Ferris actually is trying to say something deeper here. The reviews I saw of this book were overwhelmingly negative, but I do think it was well worth the time I spent reading it. And I'm still looking forward with great anticipation to Ferris's next novel, even as I hope it is a bit more strongly edited. ( )
  gayla.bassham | Nov 7, 2016 |
Devastatingly sad and beautiful. Some of the most vivid metaphors and similes I've ever read. ( )
  apomonis | Jun 2, 2016 |
clearing my bookshelves - recycling this.
  anglophile65 | Mar 8, 2016 |
I found this book really disturbing. It was well-written and an interesting idea for a book, but when I was done with it, I was left with a feeling of intense discomfort. ( )
  magerber | Feb 22, 2016 |
unique story, struggled towards to end to finish, kodos for not whimping out at the end ( )
  jimifenway | Feb 2, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 84 (next | show all)
Joshua Ferris’ 2007 debut Then We Came To The End fearlessly wielded the first-person plural to chronicle the fall of a Chicago advertising agency through its employees’ eyes. There is no “we” in The Unnamed, his superbly depressing follow-up about a marital crisis with no exit, but the descent is more personal, frightening, and ultimately meaningful.
added by Shortride | editA. V. Club, Ellen Wernecke (Jan 21, 2010)
Though his idea might have worked equally well as a short story, Ferris paces his scenes and writes dialogue that sustains the tension, walking a line between realism and something more estranged, catching the invisible shifting energy in the room when words get spoken.
added by Shortride | editBookforum, Sarah Kerr (Dec 1, 2009)
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For Chuck Ferris and Patty Haley
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It was the cruelest winter.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Tim Farnsworth is a handsome, healthy man, aging with the grace of a matinee idol. His wife Jane still loves him, and for all its quiet trials, their marriage is still stronger than most. Then one day he stands up and walks out. And keeps walking.

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