Leonard Pierce Interviews Joshua Ferris

Earlier this month, 35-year-old novelist Joshua Ferris released his second novel, The Unnamed, to generally positive critical praise. While it maintains some of the same themes and dramatic concerns as its predecessor, the bestselling, highly regarded Then We Came To The End, the two books are entirely different beasts. Released in 2007, Then We Came To The End was the subject of our Wrapped Up In Books feature this month. It cleverly portrayed life at a dying Chicago ad agency (a milieu Ferris was familiar with, having worked at such an agency himself for several years) with dark, sometimes absurd humor and the unusual use of a first-person plural narrative voice. The Unnamed, which tells the story of a successful attorney stricken by a bizarre ailment that makes him wander uncontrollably, is much more downbeat and serious, although it never abandons the same fringes of absurdity, or its concern with the ease with which a comfortable life can be disrupted. Just before setting out on a book tour for The Unnamed, Ferris spoke to The A.V. Club about the choices he made in his first book, common misperceptions about his second book, and the similarities and differences between the two.

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