Never be afraid to get dirty, but be sufficiently sure-footed to avoid the abyss of contamination.

Joshua Ferris

Then We Came to the End is the type of book that I feel compelled to share with friends (I’ve already loaned it out twice!), and when JB pointed out that Joshua Ferris had a short story in a recent edition of The New Yorker, my expectations were high. While “The Pilot” was interesting and Ferris’s writing style enviable, the story itself fell short of my expectations. Needless to say I was a bit disappointed.

What I forgot to mention was that a few weeks before reading “The Pilot”, I had purchased The Unnamed, Ferris’s second novel. My plan had been to start on it after finishing The Family, but I was no longer as excited. The Family itself was unpleasant to read because Jeff Sharlet’s account of history had me going to bed angry. In fact, it was so unpleasant that when a friend loaned me Wicked, I gladly took the opportunity to set aside Sharlet’s nonfiction unfinished, around where Abraham Vereide and his followers had successfully petitioned the Allies to save a slew of Nazi war criminals.

Anyway, I finished reading Wicked last week, and last night, I looked at my bookshelf. Back to Sharlet or onward to Ferris?

I read the first chapter of The Unnamed this morning. Then the next one. And then the one after that. I haven’t finished yet, but I am definitely enjoying it.


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