Then We Came to the End
A NovelBook - 2007
This wickedly funny, big-hearted novel about life in the office signals the arrival of a gloriously talented new writer. The characters in Then We Came to the End cope with a business downturn in the time-honored way: through gossip, secret romance, elaborate pranks, and increasingly frequent coffee breaks. By day they compete for the best office furniture left behind and try to make sense of the mysterious pro-bono ad campaign that is their only remaining "work."
Baker & Taylor
The remaining employees at an office affected by a business downturn spend their time enjoying secret romances, elaborate pranks, and frequent coffee breaks, while trying to make sense of their only remaining "work," a mysterious pro-bono ad campaign.
Blackwell North Amer
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 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.
Among the coworkers fighting for their jobs and their precious perks: Tom Mota, recently divorced and inexplicably wearing three company polo shirts, one on top of the other, every day; Joe Pope, a workaholic and perpetual victim of office sabotage; Carl Garbedian, whose unchecked depression has led him to "borrow" Janine Gorjanc's medication and blackout his windows; Chris Yop, suspected of stealing Tom Mota's chair; and Marcla Dwyer, with whom Benny Shassburger is in love, despite her mean streak and badly dated haircut. As one colleague after another is laid off, everyone strikes their best business-as-usual pose, pretending to make headway on the mysterious pro bono ad campaign that is their only remaining "work." Meanwhile tempers flare, office furniture disappears, and the survivors parse their bosses' decisions in ever-more-paranoid sessions at the nearest bar.
The remaining employees at an office affected by a business downturn spend their time competing for the best office furniture left behind and enjoying secret romances, gossip, elaborate pranks, and frequent coffee breaks, while trying to make sense of their only remaining "work," a mysterious pro-bono ad campaign. A first novel.
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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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