Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris

The Unnamed (edition 2010)

by Joshua Ferris

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
940799,268 (3.5)45
Title:The Unnamed
Authors:Joshua Ferris
Info:Reagan Arthur / Back Bay Books (2010), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris

  1. 10
    Mad Travelers: Reflections on the Reality of Transient Mental Illnesses by Ian Hacking (albanyhill)
    albanyhill: Mad Travelers is nonfiction about dissociative fugue in the 1890s, which had as a symptom compulsive bouts of walking.

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 45 mentions

English (76)  Italian (2)  Dutch (1)  All languages (79)
Showing 1-5 of 76 (next | show all)
So the book's protagonist ambles around aimlessly, involuntarily, endlessly, and perhaps it is a metaphor of sorts that the book does exactly the same thing. The story bobs and weaves to avoid meaning. At the end of the day the moral of the story appears to be that nothing matters, that our biology is our destiny, and that we all die alone. It is about as cynical a book as I have ever read, but there is no fire to the cynicism. The whole enterprise seems steeped in exhausted capitulation. This is neither my first nor my last Ferris book. He is a beautiful writer. That said, IMHO this was a pointless read, depressing not because of its depth or honesty, but because the writer just gave up. ( )
  Narshkite | Nov 27, 2014 |
I was amazed with how deeply I (we) got immeshed into Tim's WALKS!!! Such incredible detail and with such exhaustion---no, you don't really understand what he is going through but you almost feel it with Ferris's descriptions. Jane was absorbed by his walks, at least to some extent as much as he was---the walks took over all of their lives and to what end? Exactly....to what end? Fascinating to read but also almost too exhausting. ( )
  nyiper | Aug 26, 2014 |
I found this a truly original take on the pressures of modern life and how close many of us are to the edge.

The book is about a man who has spells when he can't stop himself from walking, his body takes over and he just keeps going, whatever the consequences for his health, his family, his work. This allows the author to strip away everything superfluous and focus on the heart of what it is to be human - love and survival.

The writing is matter-of-fact and unembellished which makes the story feel even stronger. ( )
  lizchris | Jun 24, 2014 |
Tim has to walk. Why or where to he does not know, despite his efforts to find out. Existientialism. ( )
  ohernaes | Dec 12, 2013 |
A writer as talented as Joshua Ferris can almost be forgiven for making a botch of a second novel, especially when the failed novel is more fascinating than most other writers' successful novels. The Unnamed is the story of Tim Farnsworth, prosperous New York lawyer, partner with the prestigious firm Troyer, Barr. In the novel's opening pages Tim informs his wife Jane that a condition that has plagued him on two previous occasions has come back. This turn of events is momentous because whatever is wrong with Tim seizes control of his body and forces him to walk for hours until, exhausted, he collapses wherever he happens to be. Until this latest recurrence he has been in remission, and he and Jane and daughter Becka have been living a stable, steady life together. But no more, and for Jane the news that she must once again contend with a husband who may vanish without prior notice and then phone her from some unknowable location in the middle of the night is devastating. Tim is lead counsel in a high-profile murder case and makes a valiant effort to conceal his condition from the client and his colleagues. But things go from bad to worse. It soon becomes apparent to the other partners at Troyer, Barr that Tim is ill and when he repeatedly behaves erratically and proves himself unreliable he is stripped of his partnership. Despite another short-lived remission Tim eventually becomes totally dysfunctional and at about the midpoint of the novel walks out on his family altogether. For the remainder of the book, Tim struggles with a condition that gives him no rest and ultimately descends into the itinerant lifestyle of an agoraphobic wanderer and social outcast, sleeping out of doors under all weather conditions and occasionally ending up in hospitals and institutions, being treated for frostbite or else in restraints and being forcibly medicated. His wife and daughter move on with their own lives without him. Ferris's narrative is repetitive and lurches from one crisis to the next, and there is little holding the story together--certainly nothing as coherent as a plot. The tedious final section in which Tim crosses country on foot, heading eastward in order to return home to Jane, is hardly more than a random litany of people, places and things he encounters along the way. And yet throughout the book the writing is lush and evocative and often brilliant in the precise manner in which it conveys Tim's misery to the reader. The Unnamed is in some ways a virtuoso performance and Ferris was obviously committed to the task of churning out Tim's story to the bitter end and making a statement about the indomitable nature of the human spirit. However, one cannot read this book without suspecting that somewhere along the way something went horribly wrong and that the resulting work is a case of an ill-conceived notion brought ill-advisedly to fruition. Surely, this is not the novel that Joshua Ferris thought he was going to end up with when he set out to write a follow-up to Then We Came to the End, his much praised debut. It's easy to understand how a writer might not want to trash a work in progress after investing a couple of years in it. Even plagued by doubt, plowing forward to the end might at the time have seemed the best, or only, course of action. Only the author knows if it ever crossed his mind to toss the manuscript into the bin and start working on a new project. Whatever happened or didn't happen, The Unnamed remains a fascinating book because as we read we sense the author doggedly setting word after word after word down on the page, closing in on that elusive ending, much as his protagonist plods along, taking step after agonizing step, compelled by his unnamed affliction to walk, going nowhere, until the body expires. ( )
  icolford | Oct 20, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 76 (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)
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original title
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
For Chuck Ferris and Patty Haley
First words
It was the cruelest winter.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
11 avail.
461 wanted
3 pay11 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.5)
0.5 1
1 8
1.5 1
2 38
2.5 15
3 62
3.5 32
4 90
4.5 21
5 41


3 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

LibraryThing Early Reviewers Alumn

The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris was made available through LibraryThing Early Reviewers. Sign up to possibly get pre-publication copies of books.

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 97,192,299 books! | Top bar: Always visible