Then We Came to the End
The remaining employees at an office affected by a business downturn spend their time enjoying secret romances, elaborate pranks, and frequent coffee breaks, while trying to make sense of their only remaining "work," a mysterious pro-bono ad campaign. (Novelist)
Every office is a family of sorts, and the ad agency Ferris brilliantly depicts in his debut novel is a family at its strangest and best, coping with a business downturn in the time-honored way: through gossip, pranks, and increasingly frequent coffee breaks.
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Some people would never forget certain people, a few people would remember everyone, and most of us would mostly be forgotten. Sometimes it was for the best ... But did anybody want to be forgotten about completely? We had dedicated years to that place, we labored under the notion we were making names for ourselves, we had to believe in our hearts that each one of us was memorable. And yet who wanted to be remembered for their poor taste or bad breath? Still, better to be remembered for those things than forgotten for your perfect parboiled blandness.
In other words, amnesty was a gift, but oblivion was terror.
We were fractious and overpaid. Our mornings lacked promise. At least those of us who smoked had something to look forward to at ten-fifteen... We thought that moving to India might be better, or going back to nursing school. Doing something with the handicapped or working with our hands. No one ever acted on these impulses, despite their daily, sometimes hourly contractions. Instead we met in conference rooms to discuss the issues of the day.
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