Longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, 2007.
An astounding debut novel, wickedly funny and big-hearted, about life in the office, signals the arrival of a gloriously talented new writer.
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 Chicago ad agency Joshua Ferris brilliantly depicts in his debut novel is family at its strangest and best.
The characters in Then We Came to an End cope with a business downturn in the time-honored way: through gossip, secret romance, elaborate pranks, and increasingly frequent coffee breaks. As one colleague after another is seen "walking Spanish down the hall" (office shorthand for being fired), the survivors obsessively parse their bosses' decisions - when they're not competing for the best office furniture left behind or trying to make sense of the mysterious pro-bono ad campaign that is their only remaining "work".
Joshua Ferris has a demon's eye for the details and emotions that make up our lives, and he has written a hilarious and moving novel about the strange selves we become when we walk through the office doors each day.
"Heartfelt and delivered in solemn deadpan. It may even be, in its own modest way, a great American novel." (Darcy Cosper,
Los Angeles Times)
"Wildly funny....At once delightfully freakish and entirely credible, Ferris' cast makes a real impression." ( Publishers Weekly)
"It's hilarious in a Catch-22 way, but with an undercurrent of sadness that works counterpoint to all the absurdity." (Stephen King)
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light and funny
- Nigel Nicholson