Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Then We Came To The End (by Joshua Ferris)

As good as you've heard. Really, this book is fantastic. It's like the perfect storm of a novel--stylistically interesting, funny, relevant, perfectly pitched, totally inventive and original. One of those books that's so good, it's exciting. (Like Black Swan Green.) It's even set in an ad agency, which is where I spend my days. If you and I share any overlap in taste at all, go read it.

And then I came to the end (ho, ho) and got to the best part--Ferris's list of favorite books. Seriously, I almost died. Not only is Pale Fire on there but seriously, EVERY SINGLE BOOK ON THAT LIST, if I read it, I loved it. The list includes Pale Fire, We Have Always Lived In the Castle, Slaughterhouse-Five, Mrs. Dalloway, White Noise, and Catch-22 (this book really reminded me of Catch-22. I was going to write this review and say that TWCTTE was like Catch-22 minus the war, plus advertising, but it turns out, all the critics have already pointed this out). Humor (especially black humor), quirkyness, and unreliable narrators seem to be the throughlines there. I certainly do enjoy all of those things.

The only book on Ferris's list that I didn't love was The Ambassadors, and honestly, given Ferris's endorsement and the fact that I otherwise adore Henry James, I'm totally willing to give it another shot. (I have a feeling Ferris studied in in grad school, because I do remember reading that it has a perfectly symmetrical structure, or somthing like that--if I investigated that, maybe I'd appreciate it more.) Anyway, that's how much I liked his book--and I am totally going to read every single book he recommends that I haven't already read.

To sum up: read this book. I won't spoil it for you. Go read it.


Blogger Scout said...

I totally agree. This is one of the best books (and most fun books) I've read in a long time.

7:54 PM  

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