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Then We Came To the End    by Joshua Ferris order for
Then We Came To the End
by Joshua Ferris
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2007 (2007)

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* *   Reviewed by Kerrily Sapet

Cooped up in cubicles, day in and day out, sometimes office workers become a second family. Each co-worker resembles a relative - from the obnoxious uncle, to the black sheep brother, to the emotional mother, to the prankster child. The workplace is a fascinating intertwining of people, all trying to accomplish similar goals. Small details become important privileges, such as who has the better chair, and who ingratiates himself more with the boss. And sometimes the things that matter most are overlooked.

Joshua Ferris's Then We Came to the End illustrates just such a workplace. He highlights the individuals from cubicle to cubicle and inside the best of the offices. He portrays one advertising agency and the workers within. Their relationships are sometimes funny, sometimes heartwarming, and sometimes heartbreaking. Ferris begins his novel when times are flush for the agency. Then gradually the economy takes a downturn and layoffs begin. Then We Came to the End is filled with interesting characters. Benny is the office storyteller; Amber is the woman who had an affair with a coworker and is contemplating an abortion; Joe is the up-and-comer; Lynn, their boss, is silently suffering from the knowledge that she has breast cancer.

Ferris treats his readers to amusing, sad, and angry moments in the office. He portrays the ad agency as a carnival of antics, gossip, and often mean pranks. As more and more co-workers are let go, each layoff unfolds differently and the cast of characters changes. In the end, through the vivid portrait Ferris paints, the reader can see a picture of basic humanity when against all odds, some characters discover the best and worst within themselves.

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