Sunday, February 15, 2009

Then We Came to the End

For the book club I'm in I've just finished reading Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris. It's his first novel, and a very impressive start.

The whole book, with the exception of one key chapter, is written in the first-person plural about the employees of an advertising agency in Chicago. The combination of "we" + verb and the knowing details about office life that are included very quickly draw the reader into the story. Although the characters in the book are a quirky bunch, they have elements that we've all seen among our co-workers, so it's easy for anyone who has ever worked in an office to see themselves in these people.

The story, told through a series of short vignettes, plays out over the course of a fairly short time, though with occasional flashbacks to the past. It is at times funny and heartbreaking, but by the end I actually cared about what had happened to each of the characters, and fortunately Ferris provides a chapter in which all is (mostly) explained. I highly recommend this book to anyone who works in corporate America, because it may just make your workplace seem a little more interesting. At the very least you'll be glad that you don't work at this place!

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