“The Unnamed”

March 23, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Posted in Fiction | 5 Comments

Then We Came to the End was one of my favorite books of 2008, so when I heard Joshua Ferris had written a new one, I started hopping around in my chair.  I love him.  Now I can tell you two exciting things:  One, The Unnamed is possibly even better, and Two, he’s already writing a new book for us.

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I listened to this book on audio, and Joshua Ferris reads it himself.  You know sometimes when the author reads, it’s flat and lifeless, even when the book itself is brilliant?  Well, Ferris is fantastic.  I could hardly bring myself to finish because I couldn’t stand for it to be over.  Normally I listen to books while doing chores and bustling around the house, but I found within minutes that I would need to sit perfectly still and savor every word.  So I would lie in bed at night, in the dark so as not to bother Rocket Scientist, and listen to only one hour at a time.

No way am I going to spoil anything about this book for you, but I will say it’s the story of a man with a mysterious illness and how it affects him and his family.  It’s also a fine piece of existential philosophy.  It’s heartbreaking and mysterious and really beautiful.


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  1. Jessica, I’m so relieved to see you weigh in on this one! I really loved his first book and was eagerly looking forward to The Unnamed, but was troubled by all the crap reviews that have been popping up. Gotta stop paying attention to things like that. I ignored those reviewers and put The Unnamed on my wishlist, but now I’ll add a star.

  2. I enjoyed this one a great deal too. It really made me think about marriage, life, the frailty of life, etc.

    You should consider joining the Reagan Arthur Book Challenge (http://rabookschallenge.wordpress.com/) since you’re already well on your way!

  3. I liked (but didn’t love) Then We Came To The End, but loved The Unnamed. You’re right, it is so heartbreaking!

  4. It’s interesting that so many people liked this book. I understood its merits but wasn’t blown away, probably because of the numerous flaws and annoying bits that popped up throughout the book. I liked aspects of it, and am impressed by Ferris as a writer – “Then We Came to the End” was pretty great. I’m still curious to see where Ferris goes as a writer, but I can’t say that “The Unnamed” was all that amazing in my mind.

    • Were you planning to review it any time soon? I’m curious what it was that you didn’t like about it. Sometimes I think if I was any smarter I would like the books I read a lot less.

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