Robin Yassin-Kassab

Posts Tagged ‘Joshua Ferris

The Unnamed

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Blake's Nebuchadnezzar

An edited version of this review appeared in the New Statesman.

When death is distant and life is taken for granted our culture forgets God – meaning the God problem – and focuses on bitching instead. This was the focus of Joshua Ferris’s first novel “Then We Came to the End”, an office comedy asking what ultimately is valuable in our bureaucratised existence.

Now Ferris’s eagerly-awaited second novel “The Unnamed” imagines a man forced from a world in which even soap emanates complacency into death’s proximity, where nothing can be taken for granted. God bares his teeth.

Philosopher John Gray describes an experiment which shows, “the electrical impulse that initiates action occurs half a second before we take the conscious decision to act.” The ramifications for our assumptions of agency are unsettling, to say the least. Reading “The Unnamed” is a companion experience.

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Written by Robin Yassin-Kassab

March 1, 2010 at 5:23 pm

Posted in book review

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