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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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Showing 1-5 of 189 (next | show all)
I honestly don't know why I finished this book. Told from an almost "we" perspective, like everyone in the office is one entity, it was just alright. Office politics in real life are pretty mundane, and this is also. ( )
  bookwormteri | Feb 2, 2015 |
We heard this book was like the film Office Space and the TV show The Office. Superficially, it is. In terms of tone and humor? We think it is not. Why would we write a review like this? Because the book is written this way. Some of us might find the first person plural perspective annoying, and never quite settle in even by the end of a long book written mostly from that perspective.

If we don't like the characters or situations presented in the book, and fail to connect with its humor, should we soldier on? One of us heard that the book has a really great ending, but is disappointed. We can't take back the time we've wasted on unsatisfying books, but we can learn something.

You can learn from me: do not read this book. ( )
2 vote wishanem | Jan 27, 2015 |
The employees of an advertising agency are being laid off. They let us into their office lives.

I know some of these people. Ok, most of these people. The character development was done well. There is not much plot other than the office intrigues of these people. It is the gossip and the craziness that goes on in an office. It is a true picture of cubicles and offices. I laughed. I cringed. I liked that we did know what happened to these people after the layoffs were over. ( )
  Sheila1957 | Oct 21, 2014 |
This would seem to be a novel about workplace dynamics, told from a collective anonymous first person perspective which just about matches the perspective of any first person who assumes everybody sees things the same way he/she does. This is only the first great thing about the book. The main great thing about it is that despite unfolding anonymously, it’s very much about a robust set of individuals. Also, it’s very funny in serious circumstances. Just read it. ( )
  randalrh | Oct 6, 2014 |
I’m always wary of novels with long titles, especially ones with whole sentences but with Joshua Ferris having his latest novel long-listed for the Booker, I thought it worth giving this one a go.

Initially it did seem rather frenetic to me, a spate of words sweeping me along but as I settled into the book, I could enjoy aspects of it. I felt Ferris captured really well the sort of complex and contradictory feelings many of us have going to work each day. It’s the place of our salvation and imprisonment, something he conveys through the way he quite often groups all the workers together as if their responses are the ones you’d have to expect from people in their situation.

With its breathless way of moving along, introducing one character after another and having zany conversations, it reminded me a little of ‘Catch 22’ and at its best, some of the writing has the wit and originality of Heller’s novel too. And Ferris has crystalised the feelings of many people in this contemporary situation we have of uncertain employment prospects, ennui and the need to be part of the office scene.

I think I read somewhere someone calling this a ‘rollicking’ yarn and that sounds right to me – it’s quite manic in places and just churns things over: ‘So it was funny. While Benny was thinking about Brizz, we were thinking about Benny. What could Benny be doing down there in Brizz’s backyard, what is he thinking about standing in front of the totem pole – that’s what we wondering. And Benny, he was wondering – well, what exactly? What was there to think about with respect to Brizz? His cigarettes, his sweater vest, his conversation with the building guy, and all the unmemorable days he spent in our company. That takes about ten seconds. Where do you go after that? What more was there to think about?’

Most of the novel is told by someone anonymous writing in the first person plural which sort of draws the reader into the office situation, something made explicit in the last sentence, and it’s only odd that the narrator isn’t identified when you step back and wonder about it as you’re reading the novel. Then there’s a section where we learn about Lynn who is so anxious about her breast cancer that she doesn’t go to hospital for the operation. Still, it’s not the plot that drives this book but more the way it caricatures office life. I think I’d have enjoyed the book more if it had been half the length – there’s only a limited amount of time before I find exaggeration loses its humorous edge and becomes tedious. So, yes, it captures the minutiae of everyday office life but in the end a lot of it is just too trivial. If the best the narrator can say ‘Tom Mota’s shenanigans’ is ‘something as exciting as this had not struck us since the premiere season of ‘The Sopranos’, you can tell how little there is to hold the reader. ( )
  evening | Aug 26, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 189 (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 (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Joshua Ferrisprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
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
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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This novel chronicles the decline of a Chicago ad office after the dot-com bust through the collective eyes of its workers.
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:51:32 -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.… (more)

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