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Joshua Ferris

Author of Then We Came to the End

13+ Works 7,183 Members 404 Reviews 5 Favorited

About the Author

Joshua Ferris, is bestselling author best known for his debut 2007 novel, Then We Came to the End. The book is a comedy about the American workplace, told in the first-person plural. He graduated from the University of Iowa with a BA in English and Philosophy 1996. He then moved to Chicago and show more worked in advertising for several years before obtaining an MFA in writing from UC Irvine. His first published story, Mrs. Blue, appeared in the Iowa Review in 1999. Then We Came to the End has been greeted by positive reviews from The New York Times Book Review, The New Yorker, Esquire, and Slate, has been published in twenty-five languages, was a finalist for the National Book Award, and received the 2007 PEN/Hemingway Award. Joshua's other books include The Unnamed and To Rise Again at a Decent Hour, which is New York Times bestseller. (Bowker Author Biography) show less

Works by Joshua Ferris

Then We Came to the End (2007) 4,501 copies
The Unnamed (2010) 1,208 copies
To Rise Again at a Decent Hour (2014) 1,050 copies
The Dinner Party: Stories (2017) 241 copies
A Calling for Charlie Barnes (2021) 172 copies
The Breeze 2 copies
Open space (2007) 2 copies
Sem Rumo 2 copies
Bilinmeyen 1 copy

Associated Works

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (1999) — Narrator, some editions — 3,491 copies
Mrs. Bridge (1959) — Introduction, some editions — 1,064 copies
State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America (2008) — Contributor — 515 copies
The Best American Short Stories 2010 (2010) — Contributor — 410 copies
The Best American Short Stories 2014 (2014) — Contributor — 266 copies
20 Under 40: Stories from The New Yorker (2010) — Contributor — 168 copies
Granta 109: Work (2009) — Contributor — 116 copies
New Stories from the South 2007: The Year's Best (2007) — Contributor — 55 copies
Mercy of a Rude Stream: The Complete Novels (1994) — Introduction, some editions — 42 copies
Tin House 34 (Winter 2007): The Dead of Winter (2007) — Contributor — 22 copies
Living Tomorrow — Contributor — 1 copy


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Common Knowledge



An amusingly told story about a man searching for meaning in the modern world, whose main virtue I found in the amusement, and not so much in the searching for meaning. Which means, I suppose, that it crosses the finish line as a mild disappointment, though it wasn't a bad effort to watch.

Paul O'Rourke is a successful dentist but a struggling human. Ferris seems to pull off the trick of making him both narcissistic and self-deprecating, with often funny results. His life has been dominated by a search for some larger meaning to subsume himself into. As a committed atheist, God and religion are right out, but women and baseball are definitely in. He describes a few failed relationships in which he always felt he lost his own personality in the desperately needy merging of two into one, a process he names as being "cunt-gripped". It never worked out, of course, leaving him with his growing archive of Red Sox games to keep him company instead.

In comes the bizarre: someone creates an online persona in his name - a web site, a twitter account, Facebook page. The other "Paul O'Rourke" claims to be a member of an ancient remnant of the Amalekite people of the Bible called Ulms, who have paradoxically been commanded by God to doubt His existence. Paul and "Paul" communicate via email, first in confrontation, but Paul becomes more interested in this alleged group that claims him as a member.

Plot does not appear to be Ferris's strongest suit, but he's created an amusing character and placed him in an absurdist storyline. The problems include lack of plot focus, a character I didn't feel particularly invested in despite his amusements, and no real notable payoff to the story in the final stretch. It's an okay book, but not one that should really stick out in the memory.

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lelandleslie | 69 other reviews | Feb 24, 2024 |
I think I have a book crush on Joshua Ferris (or "Josh" as I call him when I talk back to his narration). I super liked [b:And Then We Came to the End|2025667|Then We Came to the End|Joshua Ferris|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1210008278s/2025667.jpg|2926759] and listening to The Unnamed, I felt hypnotized by the soft rhythms of his voice. Oh, Josh. Your new book is so sad. Are you, okay?

Here's the plot: Tim Farnsworth and his wife Jane are happily married, well off, etc. But they are dealing with a strange unnamed affliction. Tim has this problem where he just starts walking and he can't stop. He can't control where he's walking or how long he walks. He doesn't know when the walks will start or stop. He just get carried away by his legs and there's nothing he can do to stop it.

To me, this almost sounds like a funny premise. It has slapstick potential, right? But in my dear Josh's hands it is tragic. It adds stress to Tim and Jane's life the way that a terminal illness would, only Tim can't get the automatic sympathy a named illness would grant.

There is a really interesting look at the mind/body dichotomy in this book because Tim can't control his body and it's ruining his life. So he has a kind of psychotic break where he feels like he's two people: his mind that wants to stay put and his body that demands he walk.

Ultimately, it's Josh's writing that I love. The man has a gift for unpretentious, moving prose. This book is crushingly sad, but not in a way that made me angry or depressed. Instead I felt grateful that I don't have a disease, especially a strange unnamed walking one.
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LibrarianDest | 94 other reviews | Jan 3, 2024 |
I keep telling my friends to read this book when they complain about their jobs. It made me laugh and I got a kick out the first person plural narration (which, NERD ALERT, made me think of the Borg).

But this is not a LOLs book, it's a first novel by an ambitious guy with an MFA. It tries to get deep, which I thought made it more interesting than it would've been if it'd just been jokey.

Still the first part, "You don't know what's in my heart," was hilarious.
LibrarianDest | 219 other reviews | Jan 3, 2024 |
I really enjoyed parts of this book - and I think I understand what he was trying to do towards the end, but it became tedious and boring in parts. I've found this with Joshua Ferris in the past though, he starts well and I'm hugely intrigued, but he takes too long to deliver and my brain stops being interested.
That being said I thought all the characters were well written and interesting, it reminded me quite a lot of Joe Meno's The Great Unknown in style and content.
kimlovesstuff | 94 other reviews | Dec 31, 2023 |



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