Then We Came To The End – Joshua Ferris

Joshua Ferris - Then We Came To The EndI’d heard a lot of hype about Then We Came To The End before reading it, but not much about the actual content of the novel.

C had bought it in hardback soon after it was published in the UK, so I had to wait until she’d finished it before delving into this widely-feted first novel by Joshua Ferris.

So what’s it all about? Well, it’s told from the point of view of a worker in an ad agency that is going through a tough time and beginning a series of lay-offs.

The action takes place almost exclusively in the office, and you meet all the different people who work there, with all their foibles and idiosyncrasies laid bare.

Anyone who works, or has worked, in an office will recognise the behaviour and traits of the novel’s characters, and how all of life is played out between meetings, emails, phone calls and lunchtimes.

Although all the characters have their faults, their strengths are also given an airing and ultimately all are given a human face, regardless of their standing in the company.

For me, the thing that was most evident, though, was that however many hours you spend with someone in an office, week-in and week-out, it’s rare that your work colleagues really know each other than well.

There are always private sides of people that remain hidden and office behaviour is often a cover for something far bigger going on in people’s lives.

The novel is funny, sad, poignant and very, very true to life. I imagine there are many people who think it’s their own office that has been portrayed.

One final note: this is completely unlike Ricky Gervais’ depiction of The Office (in both meanings). Whereas Gervais’ characters were drawn for comedic effect first and foremost, all the people who crop up, however briefly, in Ferris’ novel are well-rounded and highly believeable.

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2 Responses to “Then We Came To The End – Joshua Ferris”

  1. bermudaonion Says:

    I’m in the middle of this book right now and I find the narration a little odd since the narrator always says “we” and never says “I”.

  2. bertieronbob Says:

    I hadn’t thought about that until you wrote this, but it is a little odd.

    I suppose he never really admits who the narrator is and doesn’t want you to think that you’re missing a really great character by always talking about ‘I’.

    And, given that the title uses the word “we”, it kinda makes sense.

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