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Then We Came to the End: A Novel
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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

No one knows us quite the same way as the men and women who sit beside us in department meetings and crowd the office refrigerator with their labeled yogurts.- Every office is a family of sorts, and the ad agency Joshua Ferris brilliantly depicts in his debut novel is family at its strangest and best, coping with a business downturn in the time-honored way: through gossip, pranks, and increasingly frequent coffee breaks.
---- With a demon's eye for the details that make life worth noticing, Joshua Ferris tells a true and funny story about survival in life's strangest environment--the one we pretend is normal five days a week.

Customer Reviews:

  • Breathtakingly good.
    Oh this was amazing. its been a long time since I've read adult fiction that took my breath away and this absolutely did. It is so so hard to pull off 3rd person plural narration, and when someone just asked me what it was about, all I could say was 'working in an office in Chicago" but it was fine fine writing indeed. ...more info
  • "At least those of us who smoked had something to look forward to at ten-fifteen."
    Corporate America is filled with cubicle dwellers and, if you are not one those now, it is very likely that you have been one sometime in the past. Some of us finally escape the dreaded cubicle jungle for good; others of us spend large chunks of our lives there. "Then We Came to the End" is the story of one such place, a Chicago ad agency suffering the steady drip of office layoffs due to the 2001 economic downturn. Joshua Ferris, himself a former member of Cubicle America, takes a tricky first person plural approach to tell this company's story and his collective "we voice" makes it easy for cubicle veterans to identify with what he describes.

    Ferris so successfully describes the office setting and its daily goings-on that some office veterans might cringe when he hits a little to close to home for comfort. This is an agency filled with people much like the ones you work with every day. You like most of them well enough, and even consider one or two of them to be good friends, but you almost never see them outside the office setting. Some of them have little habits and mannerisms that drive you nuts, some of them you find attractive, and you might even feel threatened by one or two others who always seem ready to stab you in the back if it means a move up the corporate ladder for them.

    As the layoffs continue, surviving agency workers feel more and more pressure to look busy even as their actual workloads shrink to almost nothing. Rumors and speculation become the order of the day, and little clusters of whispering employees gather to discuss old rumors - and to send a few new ones out into the workplace themselves. They may not know each other very well but the employees have strong opinions about each other based on what they observe at the office. As office-mates disappear one-by-one and the company looks more and more unlikely to survive its downward spin, personal grudges, petty dislikes, and old rivalries become more and more important.

    One laid-off copywriter sneaks back into the office and even attends meetings in an attempt to prove his worth to the agency. Another refuses to admit that he suffers depression but begins stealing prescription medicine from a co-worker's desk. Others prefer to pretend that it is business as usual and they carry on with their office love affairs, both real and imagined. As their numbers dwindle, those still on the job become more and more frantic and strange things begin to happen. Workers raid newly vacated offices to find better chairs or office doodads for themselves; some fired employees tend return like bad pennies; and others begin to crack in their own rather unique ways.

    Joshua Ferris put me back in a world I personally experienced not that long ago. His use of satirical dark humor to describe the office trauma in "Then We Came to the End" sets just the right tone for the story he tells. Ferris also has a knack for perfectly describing even the most minor of his characters, as he does, for instance, in the case of one loner payroll clerk: "Her office was a firetrap of put-off filing. Sandy had gray hair and wore one of those ribbed finger condoms that gives one speed in the sport of accounting." (Hey, I think I know that woman.)

    Despite my flashbacks, this was a fun book for me to read and I recommend it to anyone who has been there and is not afraid to go back one more time for a little visit....more info
  • My observational skills are lacking...
    Three months ago, I was browsing around in the library and came across the hardcover copy of this book. I've always enjoyed books about office life (i.e. Company, by Max Barry and Kings of Infinite Space, by James Hynes), so I grabbed it.

    Within minutes of reading this book, I went insane with all the "we" references. I tried to like it...I really tried, but couldn't, and then scrapped it.

    Now, I see the same book in Barnes and Noble (only this time in paperback with a different cover) read the description again, and now I've got the same book again, only I don't know it.

    So I'm reading the crazy thing thinking it sounds familiar, and finally I realize what an idiot I am...and blah blah, but anyway...

    I actually enjoyed the book this time. It wasn't great by any means... it was a tad long (but come on, my attention span isn't what it used to be). I really enjoyed reading little snippets about the lives of characters, and there was really a lot I could relate with.

    If you're interested in all this freakishly overdone office crap like I am, you'll probably enjoy the book on some level.

    I mean, how can you not love some pissed-off office worker dressed like a clown, blasting people with red paint pellets to make 'em think the end is near?

    ...more info
  • Becomes a Chore
    The most unusual thing about this novel is its style. It is written in what would be described as the first-person plural, which means that the narrative is presented to us by a mysterious, "we:" "We walked over to Bernie's office," or, "We heard there were donuts in the break room," or, "We found ourselves getting tired of Karen's antics," etc. The last sentence of the novel reveals that there is a somewhat poignant reason for this, but its effect is so disconcerting that it is likely that many readers will never get that far.

    The subject matter of the novel are the characters that inhabit the typical, white-collar, cubicle world so many of us in the west are a part of, and it is very insightful. Mr. Ferris has a terrific understanding of the office politics, gamesmanship, frustration and humor of those who work in this world and who interact with each other day after day and year after year. Some of this is very funny and some of this is very sad, and the novel particularly stands out because Mr. Ferris also understands that there are some really strange people in this world. The truth is truly stranger than fiction, and he thankfully never strains our credibility with some of the oddball characters he has concocted here.

    The problem is that it takes way too long to get to know them. Because of the impersonal "we" style, there is really no direct contact with a narrator, so one often finds one's eyes glazing over when trying to differentiate between the dozen or so main characters who inhabit the novel and who are presented to us rather quickly. First the talkative Bernie maybe comes into focus, then crazy Tom, then perhaps the boss Joe Pope, but there are a lot more, and by this point about two hundred and fifty pages have gone by. It's very difficult to get a grip; indeed, this style is a perfect example of what our English composition teachers used to describe as "narrative summary."

    It is leavened somewhat by the author's regular digressions into realistic and clever dialogue, or when he describes a character's actions, but again, as soon as you think you are starting to sink your teeth into this, here comes this nebulous "we" dragging you back into generalities.

    There is promise, though. The author is emotionally mature--he is truly sympathetic to these characters--and as mentioned, he is insightful and clever. The novel rings true. But unfortunately, his experiment with the first-person plural style drags this thing down like a wet dog. ...more info
  • Didn't want this novel to end!
    For those of you looking for a quick recommendation, I can say that this is the best book that I've read this year. It was funny but sad, outlandish but true, and I fell head over heels in love with it.

    Ferris's novel is set in the fairly mundane setting of an office workplace, but the story extends far beyond this. It focuses on a group of individuals toiling away in a failing company, and examines the relationships that develop not just between these people with each other, but also with their jobs. It's told primarily from the first person perspective ("we"), but I didn't find this style gimmicky or difficult to deal with at all - in fact, I felt it really served the authors purpose of showing that these people were all in it together, for better or for worse, essentially an extended family for each other. Or maybe it also represents the corporate drone mentality that can easily strip away one's identity... take it as you will. Regardless, given this point of view, Ferris does a great job of really developing his characters in believable and compassionate way.

    I've read several reviews claiming that this book is not funny. I guess it depends on your sense of humor. If you are looking for ribald, slap-stick humor in book format, then you probably will not find this book enjoyable. If you prefer a darker, wry humor, such as that seen in the movie "Office Space" or the television show "The Office", then you will probably find the humor in this novel as well. You need the ability to see the potential for humor in mundane and often futile situations. Comparisons between it and "Catch-22" are, I think, very apt as well. It won't be to everyone's taste, but for those who can appreciate that the lines between laughter and tears can often be very blurry indeed, then I think this book will be a worthwhile read. I found it both funny and touching, and consequently immensely rewarding. I look forward eagerly to Ferris's next book....more info
  • more pathetic than funny
    having worked in a number of corporations and lived through lay-offs, buy-outs and a hostile takeover, I'd say this is certainly a realistic view of life in corporate America, and its not a pretty picture. I thought most of it was sad, not funny, particularly that the employees are entirely concerned with "looking busy" rather than saving their jobs by getting more business.


    I struggled through it...more info
  • overrated at best...
    I read 2-3 novels a month, and this one has completely bored me from page one on. Im not sure what he is trying to say, except that we are all stuck in ruts and fear for our careers, and we don't need him to tell us that. Sharing his trivialities of his everyday office life is nothing more than an overblown, unorganized minute by minute journal, written by someone who has nothing better to do then share his day to day boredom with the world for money. I put it down FINALLY at page 74, HOPING...if not BEGGING for it to become organized, thoughtful, and at least slightly entertianing. Needless to say, it was brought to the used book store within a week for exchange....more info
  • Funny, fantastic, tragic book (and gorgeous dust jacket design!)
    This is one of the best books I've read in years: really unique, funny, and sad. I was drawn to it initially because of the brilliant cover design - fantastic work by designer Jamie Keenan by the way, and too bad the paperback editions don't reuse the same design - and lucked out judging this great book by its cover. ...more info
  • I Laughed, I Cried - Three Thoughts
    Very rarely does a book inspire me to laugh out loud, much less gasp or start tearing up. This book did all of that (which led to some embarrassing moments on the train) and more. I read it several months ago and still think about it at least once a day - although I do work in an office in Chicago that is facing layoffs, so the parallels are undeniable. But I don't want to sell Ferris short - the book would be brilliant even if it didn't resonate with my real life.

    The book's real triumph for me (and perhaps the reason some people are so put off by it) is that so much happens by inference, subtext, and implication. With the single (startling, unexpected, heartbreaking) exception, we never really get inside the perspective of the characters. We see their actions, listen to their words, hear their perspective from them, but their true inner life is the central mystery of the book, much as those we spend our time with are truly unknowable. So those moments when truth bubbles to the surface, when we discover something truly personal about a character, are like shocking twists in a suspense film.

    When describing this book, I often say it's like Catch-22 in an office, which isn't really fair, but does get at some central things about the book. First off, the characters' unknowability, then the sheer size of the cast, and the time-jumping nature of the narrative, which goes forward and back and around and through the same central time period. But the thing that both books have at their center is a bruised but extremely loving and generous heart that cloaks itself in jokes and distance because the truth is simply too much to bear. I love this book....more info
  • The real office
    Everyday we spend the best part of our energy on the people who work with us. That ad hoc family that surrounds us day after day. The people we know better than some our own family, and yet really don't know at all. The agency is downsizing, restructuring any other term they can find for layoffs. Every day brings the anticipation and dread. Will it be Carl, who has been more and more erratic as of late, or Jim, who always manages to say the most inappropriate thing, Karen who can reduce even the most heartbreaking incident into something to be mocked, Chris who pilfers a coworker's chair, or Marcia the acid tongued? Of course we could all be like Joe, perfect Joe, who is always ready when called upon, never joins in the pranks or gossip or complains about being the target of the group's increasingly childish jokes and seems to have the respect of their boss Lynn. Joe will never make the Spanish walk with his belongings in a box, escorted by security. One of their main topics of speculation on the health of one of the agency's partners, Lynn. As coworkers become more paranoid and spend more time talking than working, the layoffs continue. The more employees try to ferret out the less they actually know about their coworkers and about their eventual fate.

    Then We Came to the End is a wickedly funny first novel from Joshua Ferris. He has captured the endless quest of the office worker to fill time without actually working. The gossip, the endless jockeying for recognition, the speculation on what's ahead...the aggression and apathy. This was an entertaining book....more info
  • Almost . . . A noble first effort of capturing Joseph Heller
    One of my all-time favorite books is Something Happened by Joseph Heller.Something Happened That book did a phenomenal job of exploiting the absurd/hilarious tragedy that life is. I have longed for another book that mined the same territory successfully. Joshua Ferris goes very far in capturing that world. The first two thirds of this book enthralled me. But the last quarter (I know the fractions don't quite add up) flagged. I appreciate how hard it is to maintain the manic energy that this sort of writing involves. And to say that it doesn't rise to the level of the masterpiece of the genre, Something Happened, is perhaps an unfair criticism. (Joseph Heller, after all, is fairly comparable to Kafka.)

    But as dazzling as much of this book is, I thought it important to share my view that the author ultimately stumbled. I certainly look forward to subsequent efforts by Ferris. But for those who were taken with this book, I strongly urge you to start with the Heller book. ...more info
  • Boring and miserable
    I thought the book was so uninteresting. The people were boring, the story lines were boring. Why would you want to read about a miserable office full of depressing people? If you are going to write about ordinary people's ordinary lives, you have to be a better writer. ...more info
  • A novel that reads like "The Office"
    If you like the show, "The Office", you will probably enjoy this book. The petty day to day ins and outs of office drudgeries, pranks, personality quirks and irksome characters makes this a book anyone who has a job can appreciate. Although it was not a book that I was rushing to get back to, I certainly laughed out loud at several points. I read this for a book club, and overall, the group rated the book a 6/10. One woman hated it, one loved it, and the rest thought it was OK/good. Most of us liked best the middle passage in the book where there narrator changes, telling the story from the perspective of Lynn. That part had more of a fiction/novel feel to it, and is more serious. The rest of the book is mainly a string of loosely woven anecdotes about the employees and their idiosyncrasies....more info
  • Adperson's anomie
    The clever and sophisticated people in this novel begin by acting in petty and childlike ways. They are a group of workers in an advertising agency in Chicago.. Augusten Burroughs's "Sellevision" and Scott Adam's Dilbert strip come to mind. The book is often mordantly funny, although it includes the murder of a child, a death from cancer, a death in military action, and bouts of depression and mental illness. These actions are effectively counterpointed with concerns about such matters as ownership of a chair or decorating an office cubicle.
    As the story goes on the characters mature and come to respect each other. I had a vague feeling that there's a deep moral in there somewhere, if I was smart enough to understand it. It uses some narrative gimmicks of the kind I usually dislike, but which are used so effectively that I was drawn in. One schtick is to use the first person plural as a point of view. A large part of the story is told by "we" and not until the last sentence is the reader told who "we' is. Other parts are POV of separate characters, and then, towards the end on of the characters reads from the novel he has been writing about the others. It's complicated but it works.
    ...more info
  • not quite Dilbert, but close
    I don't think you have to have worked in a cube farm to enjoy this book, but it probably helps. On the other hand, if you've ever been the victim of a layoff, it may hit a little too close to home. Narrated in first person plural, an omniscient "we," this tragicomedy is not so much about downsizing as it about the quirks of the various members of a corporate office. The book is chock-full of stereotypes, including the diminutive female boss, Lynn, with a fabulous shoe collection, and her lieutenant, Joe, who fits in with neither management nor staff. The author succeeds in making the point that sometimes managers tend to view their staff as a collective entity rather than as individuals. By the same token, some employees fail to see their supervisors as having human characteristics. In fact, the heart of the book is the story of Lynn's struggle with her fear of breast cancer surgery. Lynn epitomizes how people allow their jobs to define who they are and how their jobs affect their standing within their various relationships--with their friends, their families, and their coworkers. Work can be stressful, but the routine of our jobs can be comforting also. One copywriter shows up for a meeting 2 hours after he's been let go, just because it's been on his calendar for months. There are lots of quotable quotes in this book, but one of my favorites is on page 53: "We liked wasting time, but almost nothing was more annoying than having our wasted time wasted on something not worth wasting it on." Dilbert, take note.
    ...more info
  • Starts of great and then fizzles
    Having been through the crash/burn dot.com era and seen people at their extremes, I found myself immediately engaged in this book. Many of the insights were spot-on, the characters/phobias were ones I could identify with some I'd met in real life (pathetic but true) and it started off as a fun way of looking back and laughing at the absurdity of it all. However, the material wears thin especially when there isn't much of a plot to sustain it. As quickly as I found myself engaged, I found myself bored and putting the book aside, just occasionally reading another chapter or two. This book is like a promising TV sitcom...starts off funny with some great characters...but when the material runs dry, you find yourself just checking in when there's nothing else to watch to see if anything has picked up but you really no longer care what's going on. ...more info
  • Good writing, but not so great story
    Some really good writing and an interesting premise, but not an appealing read. Is it reading a first person plural narration? Maybe. Or could it be the fact that it's more a vertical story than a horizontal one? I'm not sure. A lot of people like this book, but I wouldn't recommend it....more info
  • Amusing and Deeper than First Appearance
    I found this book to be an amusing read.

    It may seem superficial with the characters being somewhat two dimensional. However, they still seemed to be entirely believable. That believability made me take a closer look. And I realize that the characters are actually quite deep, but the presentation is two dimensional. But, being that the perspective is that of the workplace, the shallow presentation is purposeful.

    Many people see their workmates in two dimensions. Sure there is a deeper story but we tend to view fellow workers in a shallow fashion.

    In all, an excellent commentary on white collar workers, especially in the context of the economic downturn. (The office portrayed experiences tough times.)...more info
  • A Marvelous Read, but for a VERY Specific Audience
    I can understand the mixed reviews of this book, though I loved every page of it and wished it would never end. To appreciate it, you not only need to have worked in an office, you need to have worked in this KIND of office.

    I happened to work in two offices where everyone had their noses in everyone else's business, where people had conniptions over nonsense such as where their "legitimate" chair is located, and whether or not the axe will fall anytime soon. That it is set in the Spring and Summer just prior to 9/11 is no accident; the economy was already starting to tank and 9/11 only made things worse for those teetering on the brink. In this office, people are being fired right and left, but the remaining folks are more worried about the health situation of their boss and the private lives of their co-workers. Who has a crush on whom? Who is a complete whackjob? This is office life, folks, at least in my old office.

    This book is so full of quotable lines and great twists that there isn't much I can say without giving it away. People who have worked in my situation will likely love it. People who haven't, or who don't enjoy programs such as The Office because they hit too close to home, will not like it at all.

    Joshua Ferris is an excellent writer and this is a stunning debut. I'm very much looking forward to what comes next. ...more info
  • Then We Came to Face Our Limitations
    Forget a large-scale plot to fuel this anecdote-driven novel. But that's just fine. Ferris is capturing a group of highly educated, highly talented cosmopolitans who have been led to believe in the boundless nature of the American Dream and in their own extraordinary powers. Alas, if that were only true. As we see the novel unfold, the office workers in an ad agency must face their vulnerabilities professionally and personally and Ferris gives us comically absurd, at the same time, sad heart-crushing anecdotes, one after another, to create a portrait of privileged subculture that must face their limitations. Sad and funny, Ferris' novel does not force humor with cheap jokes. Rather the novel gives us painfully funny office drama, just as absurd as you might see in the film Office Space. But because Ferris' characters are more complex than the comedy film, his novel has more power.

    ...more info
  • A disappointing read.
    Good reviews and rated among the top books of the year I found this to be a dull, turgid book that I could not finish. This despite my habit of completing almost every book that I start. There is humor, deadpan of a sort, but so repetitive and without meaning that one just doesn't engage or care about the characters. It bears some resemblance to the Dilbert cartoons but too much is just too much. I suppose it might bring some relief to those who toil in cubicles but I just found it without any real value....more info
  • Can His Second Book Live Up To This?
    Joshua Ferris has written an incredible debut novel. It's not just because of the of the use of the "first person We" though the way he uses it gives the book such a unique wonderful tone. And it's not just because I think he actually managed to keep track of what happened to Tom Motta's chair. It's not just because he's the closest to Joseph Heller (Catch 22) that I've read since Heller. It's all of the reason's this book is great and getting the love and attention. And there are probably a lot more. But I don't have time to list them all so do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this book.

    My only fear for Ferris is this: Can his second book live up to this? Honestly, this might be like "Pulp Fiction" or "The Sixth Sense" or "Catch 22" where Ferris peaks early. Because he's written one tough act to follow. Either way, I'll be excited to watch his career and when book 2 comes along consider it pre-ordered. ...more info
  • A slow starter with a great finish.
    I will be the first to say that in the beginning of reading this novel, I was incredibly disappointed. I could not, for the life of me, understand why this book had received such incredible praise. However, around 250 pages in, the story has a dramatic change of focus and some brilliant character development rises to the surface. Additionally, as others have said, the last 20 pages are truly unique and show a literary insight that surpasses that which I would have originally credited the author.

    To the negative reviewers who all admit to not finishing the book, your review really does present an unfair bias. Though it is problematic that it takes the book so long to get started, which is why I did not give it five stars, it is a great read. ...more info
  • True, funny and touching
    The unnamed narrator of this book kept me laughing and nodding my head for the whole ride as he took me through the final tumultuous weeks suffered by the anxiety-ridden employees of a Chicago advertising firm. Business is down and layoffs are on, and all of them are just clinging to the life-raft, praying they won't be next and agonizing over what they'll do if they are. For the most part it's a hysterically funny and usually unflattering inspection into each character, mixed in with more serious moments, from Tom and his unbearably verbose e-mails to Lynn's possible breast cancer (does she or doesn't she have it?) to Amber and Larry's sordid affair, to the tyrannical serial number system used to monitor the precise whereabouts of every single chair, bookcase and printer. It's a brilliant breakdown of why co-workers really ARE like family, in that you can love and hate them with equal passion several times over - just in the course of one day.

    Like the movie Office Space - one of my all-time favorites - this might be one of those "you had to be there" kind of things, meaning that to fully appreciate it you may have to have worked in an office environment; i.e., the world of horrific coffee, unproductive meetings, cheap carpet, unreasonable deadlines, ergonomic chairs, romance rumors, post-it notes, and the inevitable waves of layoffs. Since that's been my world for far too long now it was as familiar to me as if I'd written it myself. It's dead-on and in some ways even made me appreciate the little sub-culture created around one's workplace, one you're often not really aware of as its own special little world until you're suddenly booted from it.

    I enjoyed it and will probably re-read at some point.

    Then We Came to the End was shortlisted for the 2007 National Book Award.
    ...more info
  • Funny, smart, dark, moving, clever novel.
    At the risk of sounding like a snob, I have to think that any reviewers saying this book is boring or bad are just not good readers, or should stick to action packed genre fiction. This is one of the more incredible books I've read in recent years. It's slow-paced but every sentence is delicious...it's incredibly fresh, full of humor and sharp observation about people, work, and life. There are a lot of characters, so if you read it on and off over the course of a couple months, you probably won't feel as engaged with the story...it's a great read if you have time to really plow through it. You'll become incredibly interested in the characters in their glorious weird individuality and you'll become totally engaged in their mundane, gossipy lives. If you stick with it, the book becomes genuinely moving and even truly exciting at its climax. It's incredibly original and such a rewarding read if you have a taste for subtletly, humor, and human observation. If you find yourself bored by it, stick to the da vinci code. ...more info
  • Life in Hell
    This book is a depiction of life in hell. C.S. Lewis envisioned hell as separation from God. Ferris depicts hell as society which takes is best and brightest, gives them the advantage of a superb education, and thereby manufactures the the profoundly lost people portrayed in this book. It is the story of the staff at a dying advertising agency. After reading this book, I still choose not to believe that people this intelligent, quirky, creative, and well-educated can really be so unlikeable, but the writing is convincing enough that I must admit the possibility. On the surface they seem to be built like normal people. They have successes and failures in their lives. They have families. They have sickness and health, good days and bad. These lives, however, are presented by the author through the lens of office gossip. The result is a portrayal of hell more terrifying than anything Milton ever imagined.

    The book is about work--specifically creative white collar work. The characters are workers of privilege with good salaries, offices with views, and an unrelenting fear that it will all come to an end. Anyone who has worked in such an atmosphere will recognize the characters, the setting, the endless stream of office conversation, and the reoccuring nightmare that the world will discover what a fraud it all is. All fears, if nurtured long enough, come true, and, as the title suggests the insular world of the agency does come to an end. For some there is redemption. For others, another cubicle and another deadline.

    The book is not satire, nor is it true social commentary. It is not easy to read. I believe that the author liked his characters, but I could not share his feelings and was glad when the book ended. If I want depictions of hell, I will dance with Dante, even though at some level I suspect that Ferris's version is closer to the real thing. ...more info
  • An interesting character study
    Not your typical novel, Joshua Ferris' debut, "And Then We Came to an End," places the reader right in the middle of a group of somewhat wacky employees at a failing advertising industry. By narrating the story from the viewpoint of the first person "we" it's almost as if we're viewing things from the eyes of an anonymous co-worker, but we learn in the author's interview at the end of the book that he's using "we" in a collective sense. The book really consists of a number of vignettes describing scenes between co-workers who, like many of us, seem to have alot of time on their hands to avoid doing their jobs. The angst of employees at a failing company is well described, as are the travails of the various characters. The book is also quite funny at times (a bit reminiscent of "The Office"). Ferris makes an interesting choice by placing a chapter in the middle centered on the hard-working boss - Lynn Martin - and her denial of the disease she's suffering from.

    A strong first effort, and an author I'm definitely going to follow. I'm interested in whether he tries to write a more conventional linear novel next. ...more info