Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
chuntzy

Then We Came to the End

Recommended Posts

I notice that some of you have purchased this novel recently. I borrowed my copy from the library and hadn't finished it after two renewals so I'd be interested in the comments of those who've read it through.

 

I was really quite taken with it at the beginning, the recognition factor helping immensely (of that office life I wasn't sad to relinquish) but I did start to get a little bored half way feeling some momentum had been lost. I did like the mix of perceptiveness and his affection for the workers who, after hours, have nothing in common with each other.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I put in the correct author (Joshua Ferris) but am bemused to see the thread coming up with Lloyd Jones as author. How do I change it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I notice that some of you have purchased this novel recently. I borrowed my copy from the library and hadn't finished it after two renewals so I'd be interested in the comments of those who've read it through.
I read the first dozen pages and decided that it wasn't the sort of book that I was after at that time. I'm not sure if I'll go back to it, it seemed to have the power to be rather depressing. A review in yesterday's Guardian didn't encourage me either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I put in the correct author (Joshua Ferris) but am bemused to see the thread coming up with Lloyd Jones as author. How do I change it?
I think the moderators have to do that. And they can remove the "And" from the start of the title while they're at it! ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have finished this this morning and, frankly, am glad to be done with it.

The book tells the story of a group of co-workers in an advertising agency in the late 1990s. I have read some reviews, blogs etc which felt that the book was a good reflection of office life. All I can say is that I'm glad I don't work with this bunch! Their daily routine is one of trivia, pettiness and mind numbing routine. There are flashes of humanity when they realise how badly they have treated someone, but they are all too rare and brief.

 

The only bit I really enjoyed was the last chapter when we meet them again 5 years later to learn what happened to them after leaving the agency. To be honest, it may have been more to do with knowing there were only 20 pages left...................

 

Z

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm stuck with this really can't get into it. Luckily it was a 20p charity shop buy, I think I would have been upset if I had paid even "asda price".

 

I am not feeling engaged by any of the characters, it feels like a chore.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I might just toss my copy. The reviews have been extremely polar regarding this and I think, if I were to read it, I would come down on the side of the nays.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I might just toss my copy. The reviews have been extremely polar regarding this and I think, if I were to read it, I would come down on the side of the nays.
I was thinking the very same - should I GM my copy now or read a chapter first then decide? No one here seems to like it very much at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I was thinking the very same - should I GM my copy now or read a chapter first then decide? No one here seems to like it very much at all.
I read a chapter, then sold it on GM. Being a R&J choice meant that it went quickly, so all was not lost!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
.......Being a R&J choice meant that it went quickly, so all was not lost!

 

I think R&J might have been influenced, as I was, by a review of Nick Hornby's* back in 2006 in which he writes -

 

"It's The Office meets Kafka. It's Seinfeld rewritten by Donald Barthelme..."

 

Mind you, thinking about his references, and thinking about R&J...........!

 

(*The Complete Polysyllabic Spree)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think R&J might have been influenced...
It's not so mych R&J as it is Amanda Ross who picks the books and, based on most of them over the years, has a strangely erratic reading habit or is pocketing cash on the side to get these books noticed. It couldn't be, could it, that she liked both David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas, Julian Barnes' Arthur And George, and then went on to such material as Victoria Hislop's The Island?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

as i said in "what are you currently reading" it's an ok book but i wouldn't reccomend it

 

thoiugh i'm only at page 100 so far so maybe i'll get into it later on

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It's not so mych R&J as it is Amanda Ross who picks the books and, based on most of them over the years, has a strangely erratic reading habit or is pocketing cash on the side to get these books noticed. It couldn't be, could it, that she liked both David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas, Julian Barnes' Arthur And George, and then went on to such material as Victoria Hislop's The Island?

 

I think there is a vast difference between the winter selection and the summer, with the winter being more literary. I read one of last year's summer picks (The House at Riverton) and thought it was awful - I want my money back and the week of my life I spent reading it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm so glad I found this site - I read Then We Came to the End a couple of weeks ago and have been dying to talk to someone else who has read it.

 

I agree with the general view here that it was mainly a chore and I was relieved to finish.

 

At first I thought it was exactly my kind of thing - quite Douglas Coupland, but actually it was nowhere near as good as even his later stuff (which began to bug me, but I guess that's another thread).

 

At first the narration seemed quite interesting, in that you never know who is talking, whether it is meant be the entire group consciousness. But later it began to grate and I felt that if he was trying to write from the perspective of the entire group he had failed, as it seemed a mostly 'male' voice to me - did anyone else think that came across?

 

Also it dragged, there were about 50+ pages too much of examples of them going on at each other which got very dull.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

barb - i'm tenidng to get that it's an all male voice in the narrative

 

i'm still reading it. i think what's wrong is that joshua ferris saw the office and wanted to make a book like the office on tv but has none of the quality that the office has

 

maybe the annonymous narrator is his attempt at the documentary style of the office. i don't know. there's a laugh here and there but nothing substantial and nothing worth reccomending

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i finally finished it (i was tempted to go for an awful pun. really tempted. resisted though). tought read it was. i also think ferris tried to work tomany primary characthers. it also had a few laughs but in the whole, it was not worthy of being described as being painfully funny.

 

a dissapointing read.

 

i wont pick up any future books by ferris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm actually enjoying this so far - must be the first person on this site to do so. I can see that the trivia of office droleness might have grated if the whole book had been in a similar vein, but I finished a much more substantial chunk last night about one character's private life and vulnerabilities which was very convincing. And even the trite bits are funny and eloquent. I'd rather read a well written book like this with little intrinsic plot than a crappily written novel with masses happening. I might write more about it when I've finished, but to anyone who was about to bin their copy I'd say don't act in haste. It's a light-hearted, funny, well-written book.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My reading year is not off to a good start. This is, frankly, a pretty poor novel.

 

Admittedly, Ferris has hobbled himself by starting from the point that work is, fundamentally, a boring, frustrating activity. The risk here is that a boring book is produced, and it is a trap the author has fallen into. The ongoing saga of a character's office chair passing from person to person, being taken apart and then thrown into a river is about as tense as it gets.

 

The characters are, presumably deliberately, pretty much interchangeable and shallow, in an effort to show the dehumanizing effect of work and how little their lives matter outside the work environment to their colleagues and their employers. Consequently, it is nigh impossible to care about any of them, apart from in a peculiar interlude in the middle, even though there is divorce, adultery, illness and death in the plot.

 

He has managed to identify many of the archetypes that haunt offices - the workaholic (Joe Pope), the team member who thinks everyone else is a bit dim (Karen Wu) and the rebel flailing unsuccessufully against the corporate culture (Tom Mota), and inject some humour into the scenario.

 

Ferris also, rather pointlessly, introduces a certain amount of ambiguity. Having finished the novel, I couldn't tell you the exact sequence of events, or which ones are supposed to have really happened and which ones imagined.

 

Ferris is very pleased with himself for coming up with the idea of writing most of the novel in the first person plural, which certainly makes the novel distinctive and is presumably meant to reflect the hive mind a business aspires to having. However, Ferris seems to think that was enough to make a novel out of. It needs a lot more than that.

 

Douglas Coupland has shown that modern working life is a topic that can be written about with wit, warmth and insight. Ferris aspires to produce a Coupland-esque novel but doesn't even get close. Weak.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By MisterHobgoblin
      Dr Paul C O'Rourke DDS is a New York dentist. He's brash, he's arrogant and he's got a view on pretty much everything. He has a failed relationship with his practice manager Connie and an unhealthy obsession with the Boston Red Sox.

      In this comic novel, O'Rourke initially comes across as a 50 something dinosaur, taking pride in his technophobia, eschewing the internet and popular culture. As the narrative goes on, however, it seems that O'Rourke is more likely to be in his 30s and not quite as ruddy ruddy as he makes out. Nevertheless, it is a surprise to him when he finds his dental practice has developed a website that focuses as much on some obscure religious tracts as on the dentistry. What follows is a bizarre and comic take of finding out who is posting the material and why.

      This all provides a great backdrop for analysing O'Rourke's own hollow, lonely existence and his failed relationships. Despite his atheism, O'Rourke seems to have flirted with Judaism in an effort to get closer to Connie and her family. Hence, he has a conflicted reaction to the religious content of his hacked website: on the one hand he is appalled, whilst on the other hand he is intrigued. There's quite a lot of philosophy, a lot of metaphysics, most of it spurious but interspersed with dental anecdotes and meetings with one of America's richest men. The dental anecdotes are hilarious and I especially loved the one about the disgruntled customer and the cave dwellers.

      It's difficult to categorise Decent Hour. It's not so much about the story as about the voice. Whether you get on with it depends totally on whether or not you get on with O'Rourke's narration. In this sense, it's a bit like James Kelman. Fortunately I loved the voice, even though O'Rourke is a supercilious, snivelling wretch who would not be fit to polish my shoes, let alone polish my teeth.
       
      ****0
×
×
  • Create New...