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Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris
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Then We Came to the End

by Joshua Ferris

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4,0102081,919 (3.51)178
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English (205)  Italian (1)  All languages (206)
Showing 1-5 of 205 (next | show all)
If you enjoy those sitcoms that get a ton of hype and everyone looooves the pilot, but then about halfway through the season you realize it's just a little better version of the same old crap, you'll like this book. ( )
  Adammmmm | Sep 10, 2019 |
It took me a while to get into the book--lots of characters in the office to keep track of with a seemingly trivial existence of pranks and gossip. But as the story starts to flesh out... good stuff. ( )
  alyssajp | Jul 29, 2019 |
Funny book about an ad agency and the ridiculousness (a la Joseph Heller) of the goings on
  JoshSapan | May 29, 2019 |
I want to talk about Joshua Ferris's wonderful novel Then We Came to the End in a little bit. But first, I want to talk about something I just learned because I read this book. I want to talk about abridgment.

I've always avoided abridged works. As an author, I would feel insulted having my work butchered AFTER it had been chopped to pieces for years and deemed publishable. If a work needs further editing, this should be done before publication. I get it: the publisher knows a work is too large or too difficult to attain mass appeal, so they simplify it and sell more copies. It's all about sales.

Now for years, I had it in my head that abridgment nixed unnecessary words and scenes, that it was a fairly gentle process that remedied an author's diarrhea of the pen. I still didn't agree with the process of abridging a work, but I didn't see how it could cause that much harm. Then I downloaded an audio copy of Then We Came to the End.

Something didn't seem right about my newly downloaded copy of Ferris's novel. The runtime showed as six hours. There was no way this 400-page book could be read in less time than an average night of sleep. I looked a little deeper and discovered that naughty word: ABRIDGED. Fortunately, I had a copy of the print book on hand, so I wasn't worried. Then I had an idea: What if I listened to the abridged audio as I read along? I would finally know what “abridged” really meant. So that's what I did.

What did I learn? Abridgment is not the deletion of “unnecessary words and scenes.” Abridgment is straight up altering an author's work to be more palatable. Characters are completely removed from the book. Riveting scenes are cut. Chronology is changed. The theme is lost. In Then We Came to the End, dynamics were completely changed when one or two characters were completely removed from a scene. Dialogue that is important to the story is stripped from the mouth of a character who has been eliminated only to be placed willy-nilly into the mouth of another. What were some of the things lost to abridgment in Then We Came to the End? The office shooting. Old Brizz and the totem. Martin's blindfolding of Lynn—the single act of which propels a dislikable character into a decent human being. Carl Garbedian. Any and all mention of these things, amongst many others, was stripped from the abridged version. The result is a disjointed office novel entirely about Lynn Mason's cancer. This isn't mere omission—it's blatant alteration.

So I say all that to say this. Abridgment is wack. If you read this novel, don't read the abridged version. You'll be missing out on some of this novel's best parts. If you've read this novel and don't have any idea what I'm talking about when I mention the office shooting, then you were probably bamboozled by an abridged copy, and I'm sorry.

Let's put all that mess behind us now...

Then We Came to the End is not an easy novel. For so much of its opening third, it seems like nothing more than ridiculous vignettes of office satire. It's not all that brilliant, or eye-opening, or even coherent. There are some laughs and some eye rolls, but it all feels strangely genuine.

It's easy to give up on Then We Came to the End. It can feel like it's going nowhere, and while there are fun and games in the first half, imagining a whole book with nothing else to offer can be a deterrent. For some readers, giving up would be a mistake. In my opinion, TWCttE is worth the initial investment. I do, however, recognize that this book is definitely not for all readers. Some will find the novel tedious and pointless regardless of its redeeming qualities.

The absurdity that carries the story in the first half gives way to a thread of sadness that grows thicker as the end nears. TWCttE becomes a somewhat dark book, enshrouded in absurdity, but bursting with feeling. Despite whatever annoyances you may have for these characters in the beginning, there's a strong chance that by the end, you'll be rooting for them. It's almost as though Ferris has in this novel created a parallel to the actual office experience. Sure, you can't stand most of your coworkers, but after being in a tight space with them for years, you may begin to sympathize with them (well, some of them, anyway).

From the midpoint forward, Then We Came to the End delivers both captivating and touching moments. Most importantly, through everything, it feels truly genuine. This is particularly true in the novel's conclusion. Then We Came to the End isn't an easy read and it's definitely not a read everyone will enjoy, but it will certainly reward some of those who stick with it—that is, assuming they're reading the unabridged novel. ( )
1 vote chrisblocker | Jan 9, 2019 |
It was undoubtedly entertaining, and as an audio, was really impressed by the actor ... but most of the characters were just so unlikeable and I literally yelled, and at one stage begging them to stop being so petty and repetitive and to just grow up. Most of them deserved to walk the spanish. ( )
  tandah | Oct 21, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 205 (next | show all)
It is a brave author who embeds the rationale for writing his novel into the novel itself. But 70 pages into Joshua Ferris’s first novel, set in a white-collar office, we meet Hank Neary, an advertising copywriter writing his first novel, set in a white-collar office. Ferris has the good sense to make Neary’s earnest project seem slightly ridiculous. Neary describes his book as “small and angry.” His co-workers tactfully suggest more appealing topics. He rejects them. “The fact that we spend most of our lives at work, that interests me,” he says. “A small, angry book about work,” his colleagues think. “There was a fun read on the beach.”

“Then We Came to the End,” it turns out, is neither small nor angry, but expansive, great-hearted and acidly funny. It is set at the turn of the current century, when the implosion of the dot-com economy is claiming collateral victims down the fluorescent-paneled halls of a Chicago advertising firm. Clients are fleeing, projects are drying up and management is chucking human ballast from the listing corporate balloon. The layoffs come piecemeal, without warning and — in keeping with good, brutal, heinie-covering legal practice — with no rationale as to why any person was let go. . . .
added by PLReader | editNY Times, JAMES PONIEWOZIK (Mar 18, 2007)
 

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Joshua Ferrisprimary authorall editionscalculated
Abelsen, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
It is not the chief disgrace in the world, not to be a unit;–not to be reckoned one character;–not to yield that particular fruit which each man was created to bear, but to be reckoned in the gross, in the hundred, or the thousand, of the party, the section, to which we belong...
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Dedication
To Elizabeth
First words
We are fractious and overpaid. Our mornings lacked promise.
Quotations
"These stupid enduring artifacts–a bar, a song–that stick around after the love has cast his heart into the sea, they are solace and agony both. She is drawn toward them for the promise of renewal, but the main experience is a deepening of the woe."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
This novel chronicles the decline of a Chicago ad office after the dot-com bust through the collective eyes of its workers.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 031601639X, Paperback)

Amazon Best of the Month Spotlight Title, April 2007: It's 2001. The dot-com bubble has burst and rolling layoffs have hit an unnamed Chicago advertising firm sending employees into an escalating siege mentality as their numbers dwindle. As a parade of employees depart, bankers boxes filled with their personal effects, those left behind raid their fallen comrades' offices, sifting through the detritus for the errant desk lamp or Aeron chair. Written with confidence in the tricky-to-pull-off first-person plural, the collective fishbowl perspective of the "we" voice nails the dynamics of cubicle culture--the deadlines, the gossip, the elaborate pranks to break the boredom, the joy of discovering free food in the breakroom. Arch, achingly funny, and surprisingly heartfelt, it's a view of how your work becomes a symbiotic part of your life. A dysfunctional family of misfits forced together and fondly remembered as it falls apart. Praised as "the Catch-22 of the business world" and "The Office meets Kafka," I'm happy to report that Joshua Ferris's brilliant debut lives up to every ounce of pre-publication hype and instantly became one of my favorite books of the year. --Brad Thomas Parsons

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:49 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

The remaining employees at an office affected by a business downturn spend their time enjoying secret romances, elaborate pranks, and frequent coffee breaks, while trying to make sense of their only remaining "work," a mysterious pro-bono ad campaign.

» see all 11 descriptions

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An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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