Then we came to the end a novel
Review: Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris | Books | The GuardianJoshua Ferris's Then We Came to the End is one of the most acutely observed, dazzling American debuts of recent years. They spend their days - and too many of their nights - at work. Away from friends and family, they share a stretch of stained carpet with a group of strangers they call colleagues. There's Chris Yop, clinging to his ergonomic chair; Lynn Mason, the boss, whose breast cancer everyone pretends not to talk about; Carl Garbedian, secretly taking someone else's medication; Marcia Dwyer, whose hair is stuck in the eighties; and Benny, who's just - well, just Benny. Amidst the boredom, redundancies, water cooler moments, meetings, flirtations and pure rage, life is happening, to their great surprise, all around them. Then We Came to the End is about sitting all morning next to someone you cross the road to avoid at lunch. It's the story of your life and mine.
Welcome to the real Office
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In this wildly funny debut from former ad man Ferris, a group of copywriters and designers at a Chicago ad agency face layoffs at the end of the '90s boom. Indignation rises over the rightful owner of a particularly coveted chair "We felt deceived". Gonzo e-mailer Tom Mota quotes Walt Whitman and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the midst of his tirades, desperately trying to retain a shred of integrity at a job that requires a ruthless attention to what will make people buy things. Jealousy toward the aloof and "inscrutable" middle manager Joe Pope spins out of control. Copywriter Chris Yop secretly returns to the office after he's laid off to prove his worth.
His choice is appropriate for a novel about the exhausted world of a small Chicago ad-agency during the lates economic slow-down, though, and appropriate for a group of characters animated by a mixture of loyalty and apathy. - America, that country's favourite myth insists, was built by the individual: the 'calm, mature' man praised by de Tocqueville; Emerson's self-reliant 'true prince'. But in Joshua Ferris's debut novel of life and death in an ailing Chicago ad agency, times have changed.