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Rainbow Rowell
Fic: Why Fanfiction is Taking Over the World
Christina Lauren, Lev Grossman, Tiffany Reisz, Rachel Caine, Jen Zern, Heidi Tandy, Rukmini Pande, Samira Nadkarni, Wendy C. Fries, Jolie Fontenot, Randi Flanagan, Tish Beaty, Cyndy Aleo, V. Arrow, Brad Bell, Andrew Shaffer, Darren Wershler, Anne Jamison, Jules Wilkinson, R
Then We Came to the End - Joshua Ferris There are aspects of Then We Came to the End that will ring familiar to nearly anyone who has ever had a job - no matter how big or small the workplace, regardless of what the job actually is (or was). I think that's because for many of us, being "at work" is about so much more than the work. It's the people with whom we spend more time than we do with our families, and that we tend to think we know well, but rarely truly do. It's the procedures and policies, and politics, that seem to exist for no reason other than to make things complicated or give one person a sense of power. It's the terminology that makes perfect sense from 8 to 5, but is a language that no one outside the office would understand. It's the endless meetings.

Joshua Ferris has an excellent handle on all of this in his first novel, and a frequently funny way of writing about it. The most striking thing about the novel is that it has no identifiable protagonist; the narrative voice is the first-person plural. It's a choice that some readers might well find annoying, but I think it works. The story - most of which occurs during a few shaky weeks in the life of a Chicago advertising firm - is told from the viewpoint of "the team," the workplace entity, which I think makes it a character in itself.

I found this very readable, and ultimately likable. It's not especially fast-moving, and mostly episodic, but it was involving nonetheless, and so many of the details were right on target. The humor wasn't as exaggerated as it sometimes is in The Office, and there's more overall story, but that's not a bad benchmark if you need one.