Saturday, March 29, 2008

Book Review: Then We Came to the End

Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris took me a while to finish because I merely expected it to be funny. I think the review that led me to it mentioned The Office and that got stuck in my head. But, while it is very funny, it is not like The Office very much, except for the fact that it's set in one. The Office gets laughs out of being uncomfortable in the workplace, while this book deals with life and death. Some incredibly sad things happen in it, but somehow it fits with the tone of the book because those things are never mocked, but they make the characters that much more real. This book seems like Catch-22 set in a turn-of-the-millenium Chicago office tower. One of the things about "funny" books is it's hard to actually care about the characters in them, because they seem like characters, not like people. Both Then We Came to the End and Catch-22 succeed in being occasionally funny but more often telling perceptive stories about three-dimensional people. A different kind of funny. It took me a long time to finish it because I had to deal with different results from my expectations, plus I've been plain busy, but it was overall a good read and I can see why some people are calling it one of the best books of the past year.

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