by Joshua Ferris
Published by Little, Brown and Company (March 1, 2007). 400 pages.
A wonderful book about the disintegration of an advertising company. Written in first-person-plural, the reader is swept up in the action as we hear gossip, rumors, and watch our coworkers do weird or annoying things. As more people are laid off or fired and offices begin emptying, the sense of panic rises as each character anticipates the inevitable. The character development is very strong; we get a distinct impression of the people working here, their quirks, their fears. I found myself wondering who exactly the narrator was. Which of these strange people is the one telling this story? Some chapters of the book could be their own little short stories: sometimes very funny anecdotes, sometimes a scene of despair.
I highly recommend this book for fans of the Office television series, for those who like character development over plot, for anyone wanting an inside view of an American office as it struggles to survive at the end of boom times.