gkaufmanss, January 30, 2011 (view all comments by gkaufmanss)
Extremely haunting, moving, terrifying, not to mention beautifully written tale of a truly unique affliction and the effect it has on a man's life, home, and sanity. I didn't read a more compelling or lingering book in the last year (heck, the last ten years). And the fact that it was so different in tone and content from Ferris's first novel makes it all the more impressive. Highly recommended!
chorne, September 17, 2010 (view all comments by chorne)
This is a powerful book. It's a very well written tale of a man suffering from a compulsion or unnamed medical condition that causes him to walk without warning. What a premise! Reading this story of how his condition disrupts his life, tears apart everything he has built, takes away everything he has and watching his battle to retain his humanity is a harrowing experience. Where the story really shines is in the author's portrayal of Jane, the main character's wife. She is the one who cares for our incessant walker, rescuing him from all the dangerous situations he finds himself in as a result of his unexpected trips. Jane's love for Tim and her insights on love, marriage and the role of a caretaker were the highlight of the book for me. I won't soon forget her. The book lags in a couple of places or I would have given it five stars. The section detailing Tim's break with reality was rather difficult to parse, but overall this book was a great read that I would recommend to most everyone.
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Reagan Arthur Books -
by Jill Owens,
The Unnamed is a very different (and much darker) book than Then We Came to the End, but Ferris's clarity of voice, urgency of purpose, fascinating characters, and even hints of humor remain. A marvelous and heartbreaking meditation on the mind and body and the nature of identity.
by Jill Owens
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"In Ferris's remarkable second novel (after Then We Came to the End), a life of privilege comes to ruin as a result of a strange and mysterious illness. Attorney Tim Farnsworth thought he had recovered from a disorder that compels him to walk to the point of exhaustion. But now his walking disease has returned and shows no sign of going into remission. His wife, Jane, supportive beyond measure, does everything she can to keep Tim safe during his walks, including making routine midnight trips to pick him up. As the disorder takes increasing control over their lives, however, the sacrifices they make for each other drive them further apart. Ferris manages to inject a bizarre whimsy into a devastatingly sad story, with each of Tim's outings revealing a new aspect of his marriage. The novel's circular aspects, with would-be happy endings spiraling back into chaos and then descending further, integrate Ferris's themes of family, sickness, and the uncertain division between body and mind into a vastly satisfying and original book." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day"
by April Henry, the Oregonian,
"The Unnamed...points out how our busy lives have left us unable to experience the moment. 'He had promised himself not to take anything for granted and now he couldn't recall the moment that promise had given way to the everyday.'" (read the entire Oregonian review)
"Wherever Ferris goes, we would do well to follow, in order to learn about ourselves."
by Library Journal,
"Ferris is an intrepid writer — he doesn't provide a solution (there's no cure for Tim) but he does explore all of the consequences. Highly recommended."
by Philadelphia Inquirer,
"What starts as a compelling enough story...develops into a metaphoric exploration of the relationship between body and mind, the notion of free will, and the nature of identity."
by Chicago Tribune,
"Ferris has now given us two unforgettable novels: a brilliant office satire and a profound metaphysical meditation on love in the face of absurdity."
"With his devastating metaphoric take on the yearning for connection and the struggles of commitment, Ferris brilliantly channels the suburban angst of Yates and Cheever for the new millennium. (Starred Review)"
by Kirkus Reviews,
"Audacious, risky and powerfully bleak, with the author's unflinching artistry its saving grace."
by Miami Herald,
"Surprisingly, almost tenderly, and despite his unrelenting refusal to churn out a predictable happy ending, he turns The Unnamed into a most unorthodox love story about commitment and sacrifice."
This dazzling novel tells the story of marriage, family, and the unseen forces of nature and desire that seem to threaten them both. It is the heartbreaking story of a life taken for granted and what happens when that life is abruptly and irrevocably taken away.
Tim Farnsworth walks. He walks out of meetings and out of bed. He walks in sweltering heat and numbing cold. He will walk without stopping until he falls asleep, wherever he is. This curious affliction has baffled medical experts around the globe--and come perilously close to ruining what should be a happy life. Tim has a loving family, a successful law career, and a beautiful suburban home, all of which he maintains spectacularly well until his feet start moving again.
What drives a man to stay in a marriage, in a job? What forces him away? Is love or conscience enough to overcome the darker, stronger urges of the natural world? The Unnamed is a deeply felt, luminous novel about modern life, ancient yearnings, and the power of human understanding.
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