Then We Came to the End
A NovelBook - 2007
No one knows us in 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 Chicago ad agency depicted in Joshua Ferris's exuberantly acclaimed first novel is family at its best and worst, coping with a business downturn in the time-honored way: through gossip, elaborate pranks, and increasingly frequent coffee breaks.
With a demon's eye for the details that make life worth noticing, Joshua Ferris tells an emotionally true and funny story about survival in life's strangest environment--the one we pretend is normal five days a week.
One of the Best Books of the Year
Boston Globe * Christian Science Monitor * New York Magazine * New York Times Book Review * St. Louis Post-Dispatch * Time magazine * Salon
From Library Staff
At the end of the 90s boom a Chicago ad agency is plagued with layoffs. The remaining employees gather around their cubicles to gossip, plot, and wonder who will be the next to "walk Spanish" down the hall, all while trying to look busy and necessary.
From the critics
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And for those of you who think Lynn Mason in addition to cancer suffers from the disease talk shows diagnose as Needing a Man, if you think that's why she was parked outside Martin's office building, then you haven't yet understood the circumstances of Tuesday night, the forces at play that make her desperate and wanting in a way that is wholly unlike her... Self-sufficiency has always been her first and last commandment... It wasn't political, this headstrong determination to answer to no one, to achieve, to be the boss, to earn and sock it away ... It was personal. She did not care to hitch her wagon to anyone else, because she knew truth, happiness, success, all of what was deep and holy, was already present in the car with her. She just didn't have access to any of it tonight and wanted someone with her in the passenger seat. p.224
Some people would never forget certain people, a few people would remember everyone, and most of us would mostly be forgotten. Sometimes it was for the best ... But did anybody want to be forgotten about completely? We had dedicated years to that place, we labored under the notion we were making names for ourselves, we had to believe in our hearts that each one of us was memorable. And yet who wanted to be remembered for their poor taste or bad breath? Still, better to be remembered for those things than forgotten for your perfect parboiled blandness.
In other words, amnesty was a gift, but oblivion was terror.
We were fractious and overpaid. Our mornings lacked promise. At least those of us who smoked had something to look forward to at ten-fifteen... We thought that moving to India might be better, or going back to nursing school. Doing something with the handicapped or working with our hands. No one ever acted on these impulses, despite their daily, sometimes hourly contractions. Instead we met in conference rooms to discuss the issues of the day.
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