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Then We Came to the End: A Novel

3.45  ·  Rating Details ·  27,098 Ratings  ·  4,447 Reviews
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 brilliantly depicts in his debut novel is family at its strangest and best, coping with a business downturn in the time-honored way: through gossip, ...more
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Published March 1st 2007 by Little, Brown & Company (first published 2007)
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Laura Boss Adults - while it's not cynical exactly, if I'd read it when I was a teenager I'd never get out of bed again to join the work force...
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Community Reviews

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Jan 17, 2008 Bart rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of MFA fiction
Recommended to Bart by: New York Times Notable Books
Because so many of the GoodReads folks are participants or graduates of MFA programs, and because Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris is so obviously the product of an MFA program, I thought to hedge and give this book three stars. But that would be dishonest.

Truth is, but for 34 pages in the middle of this novel, I didn't enjoy Ferris's debut at all. Oh, it's witty and flippant and clever and occasionally funny, but ultimately it's not enjoyable.

It fails for the reason so many MFA-workshop
Jul 27, 2013 Rainbow rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition



This book perfectly captures what it's like to work in an office.

And what it's like to work at an ad agency.

And I can't believe I waited this long to read it.

May 06, 2008 Patrick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who has ever worked in an office
It's funny how certain books just come along at exactly the right time in your life. I read 'Franny & Zooey' when I was right out of college and just starting my life as a post-grad in the city, and it really spoke to me. I read 'A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius' the summer before my senior year, when I was panicking about what I was going to do with the rest of my life, and it completely changed the way I looked at myself and the world around me. If I had read 'Then We Came to the ...more
Aug 29, 2007 Patrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: promising debut novelist addicts
(1) How funny it was;
(2) The first-person-plural voice, which could have backfired but didn't for me;
(3) The guy who quotes Emerson (it was around here that I started to feel actual warmth for the characters, even when I couldn't keep them straight);
(4) The Catch-22ishness (though it wasn't slavishly Catch-22esque, which you might initially think);
(5) The very last line, which maybe could be considered gimmicky, but worked for me and which I read with what I guess I would call a "sat
Oct 12, 2007 Mandy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
OK, I picked up this book because I had read several good reviews of it. And it sounded interesting. I work in an office. This book takes place in an office. I love the TV show "The Office." Some readers of this book compared the two.

Then I read the book. And hated every minute of it. I finished it because I was determined to see why this author got such rave reviews on this, his first novel. Were people reading the same book I was? It wasn't funny. It was tedious. Maybe that's the point, to hel
Krok Zero
Nov 04, 2010 Krok Zero rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: winter-09-to-10
Sorry, haters. Review to come, possibly, as soon as I reclaim my chair--my legitimate chair!

Update: So, yeah, this is a home run. Deserving of every inch of its hype. It's too bad, however, that so much of the buzz focused on comparisons to The Office and Office Space (nothing against those fine entertainments) and the workplace-drone genre of humor. Because this book kind of is part of that on a surface level, but it's so much more--so much more expansive, humane, ambitious, detailed and moving
Apr 27, 2008 Edan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was tempted to write this review in the plural first person so that you all would be impressed with how clever I am, but, fuck it, I have a novel to write and papers to grade! (Plus, what if you thought I was speaking in the royal 'we' or the blogger 'we' and the whole experiment just failed?!)

Ferris displays some technical savvy in this book. The point of view tired me out on my first attempt, but a month or so later I returned to the novel with an open mind (and heart, I suppose), able to fa
Aug 15, 2008 Ruth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like this book, but it just didn’t work for me. To vault directly to the ending, that in particular let me down. Big fat gimmick. If that was one of the main purposes for the use of the first person plural, then I felt somewhat like the victim of a shaggy dog joke.

At first, the first person plural seemed fine with me, but ultimately I think what it did was, instead of involving me as a participant, as part of the “we,” it distanced me from the book. On reflection, I think it was beca
Aug 20, 2007 Lena rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I had a love-hate relationship with this book. We got off on the wrong foot to start, since the blurbs had led me to expect the read to be a laugh-filled riot. It does have its funny moments, but the overall tone was much more despairing than one would expect from its copy. In addition, the large cast of characters and first-person plural narration left me grasping for someone to relate to. I kept reading mainly because I enjoyed the references to my hometown.

About half-way through the book, how
Jr Bacdayan
May 08, 2014 Jr Bacdayan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are some things in these pages that l can’t understand. You see, I have never worked my entire life. I mean like any kind of paid work, never, silch, squat, nada, zero, nope. And when I really think about it, I think I don’t want to do any kind of work. Sitting in an office doing stuff? Manual labor? Wall Street? Science shit? President-ing? The heck is that about? I dunno, seems like shit. But then you begin to think about the money. All those times you wanted to buy something but you did ...more
Aug 06, 2013 Amanda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Amanda by: Stephanie Williams
Shelves: meh, blog
In fairness, this book is more of a 2 1/2 star, but given the tyrannical nature of the star system I am forced to go with a 2. Typically, this is the type of book I like--sarcastic, cynical, and funny. I really enjoyed the first half of it, but then got bogged down by the halfway point. I've worked in an office scenario like this and easily recognized the stereotypes depicted by Ferris (part of the fun in the beginning was recognizing and assigning real life names to the characters, "Oh my God, ...more
Apr 06, 2012 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Back in simpler times, network sit-coms reigned supreme for vegetative pleasure. Even some further down our list of favorites could provide mild, mindless fun. I went into this book expecting something similar. It didn’t take long, though, to realize that this was a cut above that. Ferris pieced together something funnier and more knowing. To couch it in sit-com terms, it was like those episodes of MASH where the normal humor and sarcasm would give way to something serious and poignant. They wer ...more
"Then We Came to the End" follows a group of employees at a Chicago ad agency as they are whittled away by layoffs. The novel begins with a short prologue set in the halcyon days of the late 90's, when everyone could make a quick buck off the internet, the Towers still loomed over lower Manhattan, and no one had ever heard of a threat level. As Joshua Ferris describes it:

It was an era of take-ones and tchotchkes. The world was flush with internet cash and we got our fair share of it. It was our
Aug 08, 2008 Shelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really, really, really enjoyed reading this book. It wasn't a life changing experience, it didn't inspire me to be a better person, or to follow my dreams. It was just a fun read. I'll turn 37 in a few days and for the first time in my life I'm working in an office building, in a cube. Before I got this job, I thought The Office and Office Space were funny, but now I really get them. It's the same with this book. I don't think you have to work in an office to get it, but it's sort of like hav ...more
Dec 09, 2013 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First person plural isn’t a voice I often see in fiction, even though I did happen to read two of these books rather close together. Both had omniscient voices taking a look at multiple characters (the former was a family and this one was an office). Both were humorous, and both strung zany along with a dog leash and shock collar, zapping my mind at the most inopportune of times, and jolting my reality with more than just innuendo. But that’s where the similarities end, and I must say I couldn’t ...more
Oct 29, 2007 Andy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I came upon this book on one of the book blogs I read after it was short-listed for the National Book Award. The reviews compared Joshua Ferris' debut novel in tone & content to "The Office," the best 30-minute network sitcom since Seinfeld and a current obsession of mine. So, Then We Came to the End sounded like it had good possibilities. And when I came to the end of it, I found myself having enjoyed it, despite some obvious flaws.

I have to start by commenting on the first-person plural n
Julie Ehlers
Like a lot of readers, I approached Then We Came to the End with a decent amount of wary skepticism. Could Joshua Ferris really pull this off? The first-person-plural narration? The multitude of characters? The humor in the face of such a depressing situation? The plight of a forty-something woman with breast cancer? Fortunately for all of us, the answer is an enthusiastic yes. I don't really know how Joshua Ferris did it, but he created something really special with this novel. It's hilarious a ...more
Jun 21, 2008 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction

The first thing to say about this book is that no matter what else I think about the plot, the themes, the point of view, or any other aspect of this novel, it was compulsively readable, which in itself is a mark of how fine a talent Joshua Ferris is.

In some ways, he is plowing the same ground as Douglas Coupland and Dilbert, but without the manic surrealism of the one or the cartoonish brevity of the other. Virtually the entire plot of "Then We Came to the End" takes place in a few floors of a
A forerunner at my come-on-you-need-to-read-this list, so dull it hurt my eyes, so today I gave it another go and - no, still dull, hate this style, "are you sure you want to delete it?" oh hell, never been more certain!
Feb 24, 2008 Andrea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any one who fears they may be alone in their work-related exisential angst.
I think it's telling that so many of our best and most popular artistic endeavors from the past ten years have come from people trying to make sense of the modern day work place. It is also telling that most of these efforts, movies like "Office Space" and T.V. shows like "The Office" for example, include some element of satire or dark humor. I'm still working on my theory as to why that is. It may have something to do with the "quiet desperation" many of us cube dwellers feel, and our need to f ...more
Mar 25, 2016 سپینود rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
اگر به «بینام» پنج ستاره بدهم که بدون شک میدهم به این رمان که جاشوا فریس قبل از «بینام» نوشنه چهارستاره میدهم.
راوی اول شخص جمع برای رمان اول نویسنده خیلی بلندپروازانه است اما خیلی خوب اجرا شده طوری که تمام کارمندان شرکت تبلبغات یک هویت واحد دارند به نام «ما» و البته تک تکشان تا انتهای داستان فردیت خود را نه خارج از زندگی اداری بلکه توی همان فضا پیدا میکنند. لین که رییسشان است و داستان اصلی را پیش میبرد جدا میافتد و...
فکر کنم من بعد جاشوا خان را حسابی تعقبب کنم.
Tara Everhart
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 20, 2010 rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, own, 2008, re-read
For me, this book followed the same trajectory as The Office (US). It starts off subtle and real and funny in an everyday way, making you appreciate the characters' quirks and start to love them. There's some bits of wackiness here and there that makes you pause for a moment to think, "Hey, that's a little over the top," but you realize it's justified because there's a moderate amount of crazy in all of us. And then there's a sad, touching moment that makes you realize that you really, really do ...more
Gregory Baird
“Do you realize how insane we’ve all become?”

In the post-Dilbert world of “The Office,” examinations of the everyday absurdities and indignities of office culture have become more and more commonplace. But rarely are they captured with such acuity, humor and grace as in Joshua Ferris’ stellar debut novel, “Then We Came to the End” (a New York Times top 5 fiction book of 2007). Office ennui is relatively easy to portray because, let’s be honest, anyone who has ever worked in an office has exper
(Update, 2014)
This is one of those times when my opinion of a book changed drastically over time. If you ask me today, I'd tell you this book kind of blew, I guess because it got so wickedly popular and also because his subsequent book (The Unnamed) was such a steaming pile of bullshit. But thanks to the magic of Goodreads, I have to face the fact that when I finished it, I thought it was pretty great. (Also kudos to my past self for already knowing how to properly use whom.)

(Original review, 2
Aug 14, 2008 Gail rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008, constant-reader
In his first effort, Ferris creates a book that is somewhat like peanuts: you just keep on reading, not actually paying complete attention. Ferris is successful in re-creating the atmosphere of a downward-spiraling workplace, showing the characters' behaviors, motives, and interactions deteriorating along with the company's fortunes.

Ferris also portrays the feelings of a woman facing cancer surgery in a completely believable and moving way. This part of the book is told from a third person p.o.v
Dec 12, 2008 Nancy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-fiction
Possibly it's not fair that I rate this book, as I was unable to finish it. I enjoyed it at first, but as the pages wore on (and on, and on) with nothing in them of forward motion or tension (I understood there was no plot and was willing to go with that, but I needed something, something -- please!), I lost interest. Another problem was that there was only one character (the woman boss with cancer) to care about at all. Even my own many years' experience of cubicle-ville failed to help me stay ...more
May 06, 2008 lbh. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
maybe you have to have lived in a certain kind of cubicle warren to have the fondness i do for this book, but i liked it awfully. it's a funny thing, these people you see more than your family, who are simultaneously marginal and unmissable, who end up defining most of your days despite their status as not-even-quite-friends. i'll admit to a certain maudlin nostalgia for the community of pre-2001 software dev groups. somehow, that stuff gets me, even if that job made me want to stab my own eye o ...more
First person tale of life in a US advertising agency approaching a downturn in the 1990s. Tries to be funny, quirky and to mix humour with poignancy, but doesn't deliver. It was neither funny enough to justify its implausibility, nor interesting enough to justify its lack of humour.
Gabriela Kozhuharova
„И тогава стигнахме края“ – за смеха и сълзите на работещия човек:

Много обичам да чета дебютни романи. Намирам за вълнуващо да видиш откъде тръгва един писател и евентуално да предречеш в каква посока ще поеме талантът му, а и вероятността да попаднеш на нестандартна идея, която да те изненада, е значителна. Напоследък обаче все повече американски автори са продукт на програма по творческо писане, което си личи, понякoга в положителна, друг път в отрицате
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  • Good Work: When Excellence and Ethics Meet
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Joshua Ferris's first novel, Then We Came to the End, won the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award and was a National Book Award finalist. His fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, and Tin House, among others. His new novel, The Unnamed, was published in January 2010. He lives in New York.
More about Joshua Ferris...

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“All broken hearts are circumstantial. Every lovelorn jerk is the victim of bad timing, good intentions, and someone else’s poor decision making.” 53 likes
“I know what to do with my life. I just don't know what to do with this one night.” 37 likes
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