National Book Award Finalist
“Ferris is an intrepid writer.” —Library Journal
“This is fiction with the force of an avalanche.” —San Francisco Chronicle
Born in Chicago in 1974, Joshua Ferris is the author of the highly acclaimed debut novel, Then We Came to the End, published by Little Brown & Co. The book was a finalist for the National Book Award, received the 2007 PEN/Hemingway Award, and was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. It was also on the New York Times’ list of the ten best books of 2007, has been published in twenty-five languages, and sold in 20 countries. The LA Times wrote, "What looks at first glance like a sweet-tempered satire of workplace culture is revealed upon closer inspection to be a very serious novel about, well, America."
Powell's Books Interview for Then We Came to the End
His second novel, The Unnamed, (2010), is a dazzling novel about a marriage and a family and the unseen forces of nature and desire that seem to threaten them both. Tim Farnsworth loves his wife, his family, his work, his home. And then one day he stands up and walks out. And keeps walking. Constructed around one of Emily Dickinson's poems that begins, "After great pain a formal feeling comes," The Unnamed is the heartbreaking story of a life taken for granted and what happens when that life is abruptly and irrevocably taken away. Fiametta Rocco, Editor of Books and Arts at The Economist, called it "the best new novel I have read in the past ten years.” Newsday wrote, "Ferris' literary magic transforms his bleak story not only into an intriguing novel of ideas but an existential mystery, an eerie road novel and, in spite of everything, an abiding love story,” while the Boston Globe declares, "The Unnamed poses a question that could not be more relevant to the America of 2010: Will the compulsions of our bodies defeat the contents of our souls?"
Watch the book trailer for The Unnamed
Joshua Ferris is the winner of the Barnes and Noble Discover New Writers Award and is on The New Yorker's 2010 "20 Under 40" list of fiction writers worth watching. Ferris is currently adapting Then We Came to the End for Focus Features. His next novel, To Rise Again at a Decent Hour, is scheduled for release in May 2014.
Ferris graduated from the University of Iowa with a BA in English and Philosophy in 1996. He then moved to Chicago and worked in advertising for several years before obtaining an MFA in writing from UC Irvine. His first published story, "Mrs. Blue," appeared in the Iowa Review in 1999. His short story, "The Pilot," was published in The New Yorker in June of 2010; and his short story, "The Dinner Party," was published in the The New Yorker in August of 2008. His short fiction has appeared in Granta, Tin House, New Stories From the South, Best New American Voices, The Guardian, The Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, and Best American Short Stories 2009. He attended the University of Iowa and the University of California, Irvine. His nonfiction has appeared in the anthologies State by State and Heavy Rotation.
Ferris and his family divide their time between Brooklyn and the Hudson Valley of New York.
About THE UNNAMED (Novel, 2010)
“Haunting and melancholy, furious and tender, The Unnamed is written with uncommon grace." —Newsday
"In a radical departure from his satiric workplace comedy, Then We Came to the End (2007), Ferris turns in a dark and utterly compelling second novel on the insanity of modern life. Tim Farnsworth is a very successful trial attorney who suffers from a mysterious illness. With no warning, he is overcome by the physical compulsion to walk and walk to the point of physical exhaustion. So far, he has recovered twice. But with the third recurrence, the illness threatens to take his family under. Over the years, his wife, Jane, has rescued him countless times, in the middle of the night, in the freezing cold, from suburban communities and city parks. Now both Jane and their daughter, Becka, struggle with deep sadness and the loss of hope as Tim returns home less and less often. Ferris imbues his story with a sense of foreboding, both for the physical world, in the grip of record-breaking temperatures, and for the vulnerable nuclear family and its slow unraveling. With its devastating metaphoric take on the yearning for connection and the struggles of commitment, Ferris brilliantly channels the suburban angst of Yates and Cheever for the new millennium." —Booklist, starred review
"The Office meets Kafka. It's Seinfeld rewritten by Donald Barthelme."
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, pranks, and increasingly frequent coffee breaks. With a demon's eye for the details that make life worth noticing, Joshua Ferris tells a true and funny story about survival in life's strangest environment—the one we pretend is normal five days a week.