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The Unnamed

by

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Excerpt

On his first assignment for a rapacious hedge fund, Gabriel embarks to Bolivia at the end of 2005 to ferret out insider information about the plans of the controversial president-elect. If Gabriel succeeds, he will get a bonus that would make him secure for life. Standing in his way are his headstrong mother, herself a survivor of Pinochets Chile, and Gabriels new love interest, the presidents passionate press liaison. Caught in a growing web of lies and questioning his own role in profiting from an impoverished people, Gabriel sets in motion a terrifying plan that could cost him the love of all those he holds dear. In the tradition of Martin Amis, Joshua Ferris, and Sam Lipsyteset against the stunning mountainous backdrop of La Paz and interspersed with Bolivias sad history of stubborn survivalPeter Mountford examines the critical choices a young man makes as his world closes in on him.
"The Bolivian setting is colorful and engaging, as are the financial maneuverings."

-Publishers Weekly

"[T]he novel holds the reader's interest to the end... [Mountford's] affectionate portrayal of Bolivia is probably the book's strongest point."

-Library Journal

"This is a solid read that is both adventurous and thought-provoking on the themes of racial identity, South Americans, politics, and wealth."

-Booklist

 “A Young Mans Guide to Late Capitalismis, quite simply, one of the most compelling and thought-provoking novels Ive read in years. Its extraordinarily vivid, populated by characters whose fates I cared about desperately, beautifully written, timely beyond measure, but above all it conveys — with impressive precision and nuancehow we are vectors on the grid of global capital; how difficult it is to even attempt to be an authentic, let alone admirable, human being when we are, first and last, cash flow.”

David Shields, author ofReality Hunger: A Manifesto 

"A Young Mans Guide to Late Capitalismis a terrific debut novelsmart, moving, beautifully written. Peter Mountford's parable of the voracious global economy reminded me of Graham Greene'sThe Quiet Americanin its clear-eyed depiction of the realpolitik of our age."

Jess Walters, author ofThe Financial Lives of the Poets

"A Young Man's Guide to Late Capitalismis a brilliant debut novel, one that is generous in giving readers an original cast of vividly-drawn and unforgettable characters, learned in its knowledge of the interwoven worlds of finance and politics, sexy, and thoroughly cosmopolitan. Peter Mountford is easily one of the most gifted and skillful young writers, already accomplished, I have had the pleasure of reading in many years."

Charles Johnson, author ofMiddle PassageandDreamer

“In his debut novel,A Young Man's Guide to Late Capitalism, Peter Mountford has something important to say about the ambiguous moral ground where the personal meets the political. He has experience and sophistication beyond his years and is well-positioned to mine this vein. This novel is worth your time and attention.”

David Guterson, author ofSnow Falling on Cedars

"Peter Mountford, in his amazing debut as a novelist, has updated the gilded myth of Wall Street swashbucklers in expensive suits and spun it out into the world in a hellbent tale, dramatizing the contorted rationalizations practiced by the financial elite to justify their self-delusion. Forget fame, respect, making the world a better place. Transcend the craving for money by acquiring a truckload of it. Buddha as a hedge fund operator, reallocating soullessness throughout the system."

Bob Shacochis, author ofSwimming in the VolcanoandThe Next New World

"Peter Mountford'sA Young Man's Guide to Late Capitalismis a sharp, funny and terrifying novel in a world so much like our own (part of the terror: it may, in fact, be our world), Gabriel's actions and the reactions of those around him caused me to wonder, again and again: how do I wish to live in this world, and what latitude might I find?"

Peter Rock, author ofMy Abandonment

 

1

Article IV Report

Friday, November 25, 2005

IT BEGAN WITH a single reedy voice calling out an incomprehensible

refrain, some nasally phrase that would repeat all morning. Gabriel

opened his eyes. The days first light glowed pale at the edge of the curtains.

Hed requested an eighth-floor room hoping to avoid this. He

closed his eyes again, optimistically. Another voice this one burpy,

froggish joined in; this phrase was shorter. What could they be selling

at that hour? A third voice entered and they were a chorus singing

some garbled tune, a puzzle of phrases intoned with the distinctive eagerness

of street vendors across the world. Car horns added a percussive

layer. A policeman blew a whistle, hoping to introduce order, but

all he added was a shrill note. Still, the sound didnt truly find its center

until the buses and micros joined in, shoving their way down the narrow

roads. Gabriel knew that the noise had reached its peak register then:

a din that would blast for sixteen hours. A symphony forever tuning up

before its concert it brayed him awake, brayed him to sleep. It was

pure dissonance, but as he lay there he found that the anticipation of

future harmony was palpable.

 Gabriel walked through to the bathroom, flipped on the light, and

observed himself, hair askew, eyes puffy with sleep. Puberty had hit

him young, at ten, but full-blown manhood seemed to be still in the

offing. In college, hed tried to grow an I-dont-care-about-all-that-shit

beard, but hed ended up looking weird, and the truth that he cared a

lot became obvious because he wouldnt stop talking about the beard,

so he had to give up and shave it off. Five years later, he was just as

willowy, but hed cut away the profusion of black hair and was shaving

regularly.

 He brushed his teeth with bottled water and showered, making sure

not to let any of the water into his mouth. Typhoid, amoebas, hepatitis,

and dozens of other dangerous microbes swam in those pipes. The tap

water even smelled different: chalky, it seemed. The water was so hard

it swept the soap off his skin before he could lather up.

 Back in his bedroom with a teeny white towel wrapped around his

waist, he slid open the curtains to see the crisp alpine light streaming

down on the chaos below.

 The protests usually ended by lunchtime. If there was a march, it

finished in Plaza Murillo, in front of the presidential palace. It had been

this way since he arrived. The police stashed anti-riot gear in a dozen

ministerial buildings on or near the plaza. Tear gas drifted through La

Pazs narrow streets like morning mist. When the gas seeped into Gabriels

room at Hotel Gloria, it felt like a cloud of cayenne had been

blown into his face. The first time this happened, he found that it took

hours to dissipate, so when it happened again today, he abandoned his

room. He took his laptop and went across the street to the Lookout, the

top-floor restaurant at Hotel Presidente, where he could write in peace

while his room aired out.

 No sooner had he sat down at the bar of the Lookout and opened

his laptop than the bartender, Severo, told him that hed already made

enough pisco sours to get all the journalists in La Paz drunk. Gabriel

smiled obligingly. It was ten in the morning and a few journalists were

already gathering in the booths, drinking pisco sours. This was the end

of the so-called Bolivian Gas War, and the fact that the war had been

little more than a protracted series of protests did nothing to diminish

the atmosphere of doomsday hedonism among the foreign press.

Severo had latched on to Gabriel, who was set apart from the others

by his youth, his ambiguous ethnicity, his fluency in Spanish, and, perhaps,

the fact that he was Fionas boy toy.

 He and Fiona had first met a week before, when they both arrived

on that days American Airlines flight from Miami. They had stood next

to each other in line at the taxi stand, misty breath vanishing in gusts.

She introduced herself and suggested that they share a taxi if he was

headed downtown as well. They sat in the back seat of a cramped yellow

car, which zipped down the winding road to La Paz, its engine

emitting an ominous burning odor the whole way.

 Later that day, Fiona had gone behind the bar at the Lookout to

show Severo how to make the best pisco sour in the world. “Its all about

the quantity of egg white and the ratio of ice to liquid,” she explained,

delivering a tray of the cocktails to the table of journalists who were all

there to cover the presidential race. “I slipped a Rohypnol into yours,”

she said to Gabriel and winked, and maybe it was just his first two pisco

sours, but for a second he had felt as though he could fall in love with

someone like her.

 Fionas pisco sours were such a hit with the journalists that apparently

Severo was now making them by the bucketful before his shift.

 Gabriel wrote for fifteen minutes at the bar before Severo said,

“Where is your girl?”

 “Fiona?” How generous of him to call Fiona a girl. Generous too, if in

a different way, to imply that she was Gabriels. “Im going to meet her

soon.”

 Severo nodded. “Is she a good journalist?”

 Gabriel said that she was great. He said that she seemed to get interviews

with whomever she wanted. Then he qualified this by explaining

that she worked for the Wall Street Journal.

 “Your newspaper is not so big?”

 Gabriel held up a pinkie finger to indicate the size, and Severo

laughed. “Actually,” Gabriel said, “I dont even have a newspaper. I am

freelance.” He didnt know the Spanish word for freelance so he just said

it in English.

 Severo nodded, his eyebrows scrunched, and Gabriel could see that

he didnt understand. It didnt matter to Severo. He just wanted to know

whether he should be impressed. He just needed to know how to react.

Gabriel said, “Not that many people read what I write, but the ones

who do are big international investors.”

 Severo seemed to appreciate that. “What do you say about us?”

 Gabriel shrugged. “I try to be honest.”

 “Dont you think that things will get better?” Severo said. “I do.”

 Gabriel grimaced. “I hope so.”

 And Severo, who had seemed so blasé a few minutes before, so carefree,

stared at Gabriel, a plastic jar of pisco sour in his hand, and said,

“Please dont write anything bad about us.” It was the most heartfelt

thing Gabriel had heard all week.

 “I wont,” Gabriel assured him. He made plenty of eye contact, to indicate

his sincerity.

 But as it happened, he was mid-draft in a brief stating that the Bolivian

governments reluctance to publish their latest Article IV report

only reinforced his doubts about their future.

 The Article IV report was a candid and therefore highly classi-

fied analysis of a countrys economy and problems, including a critical

assessment of its policies, written by the International Monetary

Fund. Gabriel had been trying to get his hands on a copy since hed arrived.

Most countries published their Article IV reports, even if these

documents gave grim appraisals of the future. They published the reports

ostensibly in the interest of full disclosure but really to assure investors

they had nothing to hide. So the fact that Bolivia was so reluctant

to publish its latest A-IV indicated, Gabriel wrote, “that this is

probably among the most dour A-IVs in the countrys history.”

 To ensure that the report would not be leaked, the Bolivian authorities

had asked that the IMF print only a handful of specially numbered

copies and carefully restrict who saw them. Within Bolivia, President

Rodríguez had a copy, as did the head of the central bank, the finance

minister, and the vice president. President Rodríguezs unpopularity was

such that he was no longer even talking to the press, so Gabriel didnt

bother trying to contact him about the A-IV. The others wouldnt return

his calls. A fifth copy of the report was in the hands of the IMFs

resident representative, Grayson McMillan, who had agreed to meet

Gabriel that afternoon. The snag was that Grayson didnt have the authority

to give out the report. There was only one other copy that Gabriel

knew of, and that was Fionas. She had admitted she had it the

other night, in a rare postcoital moment of tenderness. “The vice president

gave it to me,” shed said.

 “Did he really?”

 “Yes, he really did. But I cant quote from it.”

 “Oh, thats too bad.”

 Gabriel didnt bother asking her if shed let him see it. She was the

only journalist with a copy and shed be crazy to endanger her exclusivity

by showing it to anyone, whether or not she was sleeping with him.

 What Fiona did not know, and had no way of knowing, was that despite

what hed been telling everyone, Gabriel was not actually a freelance

writer. He was not a journalist at all, in fact. Not anymore. For the

last month, Gabriel had been working as a political analyst for the Calloway

Group, a hedge fund.

 Once hed finished the first five pages of his report, Gabriel went to

an empty side of the restaurant, got out his cell phone, read the finance

ministers number, and took a deep breath. He attempted to assemble his

ideas. He had not yet grown accustomed to interviewing these genuinely

powerful people. For the past four years, when hed been writing

for the online financial paper Investors Business International, hed felt like a

hack. Now, at the Calloway Group, it was worse: he was expected to weasel

sensitive information from these people. And the stakes were dizzyingly

high. There could be tens of millions of dollars on the line. His boss,

Priya, would not tell him exactly how much or where it was going.

 In theory, his job at Calloway wasnt so unlike his job at Investors

Business International, except that what he wrote now wouldnt be published.

Quite the reverse; what he wrote now was confidential. The less

their competitors knew, the better. Gabriels cover, such as it was, was

that he was a freelance writer hoping to do a long piece on the Bolivian

election for a magazine it was precisely the kind of assignment hed

have been given by IBI a few months before.

 He took another deep breath, looked out the window. La Paz was a

long and narrow city. It filled a craggy ravine on the eastern outskirts of

the altiplano, or high plain: thirteen thousand feet high in this case. The

steep faces of the canyon around the city were covered with slums. The

slums were colored red by the cheap bricks of mountain mud the inhabitants

used to build their shacks. Even farther up, toward the ridge, the

hills were studded with clusters of shantytowns, home to only the most

intrepid of the citys poor. The terrain was unforgiving, desolate, rocky;

it looked primitive. It looked Afghani; it looked like al-Qaeda territory.

 Gabriel dialed the number, pressed Send. The phone rang once.

A brief silence. It rang a second time. Someone answered. “¿Aló?” the

voice said. A mans voice.

 “Hello, I am a friend of Fiona Musgrave,” Gabriel said in Spanish.

He spoke too fast, intending to make it clear he was fluent, because

sometimes he had a slight hint of a gringos accent. “I was hoping to talk

to you about the Article IV report.”

 “Fiona gave you this number?” the man responded.

 “She did.”

 “Youre a journalist?”

 “Im a freelance writer,” he said, leaving the word freelance in English

again. He added a pause. “I need to speak off the record.”

 “What kind of journalist wants to speak off the record?”

 This was the problem. Presenting himself as a freelance writer did

not, it turned out, engender much enthusiasm with interviewees. Gabriel

wanted to believe that if he told people for whom he really worked,

theyd be impressed. He wanted to think that theyd give him the same

star treatment they gave Fiona. But he couldnt risk it getting out that

the Calloway Group was interested in Bolivia. He was lucky to have the

job more than lucky, in fact and they wouldnt need much of an

excuse to fire him. He hadnt even told his mother about the job. Still,

he needed to entice the minister to speak somehow, so he went forward

with innuendo. “Have you heard of the Calloway Group?” He said the

Calloway Group in English, in an American accent.

 “The hedge fund?” The finance minister was still in Spanish. “You

work for them?”

 Gabriel didnt answer the question. This was the plan, to imply that

he worked for them but stop short of stating the fact directly. It was important

that the minister know that the stakes for Bolivia were real; until

now, few hedge funds had ventured near countries as backward and

unstable as Bolivia. But it was also important that the minister see that

the Calloway Group wanted to be discreet about their interest. “Im just

asking to take a look at the Article Four report,” he said. “Itd be completely

off the record. Its all just deep background for a long piece Im

researching.”

 The minister let out a weary sigh. “Does Fiona know whom you

work for?”

 “Fiona knows that I am a consultant.” Gabriel paused again, in case

the insinuation wasnt clear. “If you have another opinion, thats your

business.” Gabriel wondered if this was going well. It was hard to tell.

 “Why would I share a classified document with a hedge fund that

has a reputation for vampirism?”

 “Excuse me?” Gabriel said. “I think youve misunderstood me.”

 “I was with Morgan Stanley in 2001, and I remember Calloway.

Theyd nudge a price until it triggered a short spike. Theyd milk the

spike on the upside, and back down again on the fall to equilibrium.

They were like feral animals during the Argentina crisis: went from a

hundred percent long to a hundred percent short in seconds on a rumor

that they themselves probably started. They may have done well, but

we all found the strategy sleazy. There was no vision, no philosophy,

except to play as fast and dirty as possible.”

  “If they were interested in Bolivian industry, itd be a very different

thing,” Gabriel said.

 “Right. Theyd be looking at multinationals with significant exposure

to Bolivian commodities, gas, I suppose, in the face of this unusual

election?”

 Gabriel hesitated. The purpose of his cover was now clear to him.

Based solely on his hint that he worked for Calloway, the minister had

triangulated a very accurate reading of Calloways investment strategy

in Bolivia. With a tiny intimation, Gabriel had exposed everything Priya

had wanted to keep under wraps. “Im not going to speculate on what

they would do here.”

 “Right, right.” The minister cleared his throat. “Im surprised they

sent you. Are you sure you didnt go to the wrong country? Brazil is a

little to the right.”

 “You dont want to show me the Article Four, I take it.”

 “You are at the bottom of the list of people I would show that report

to.” His voice was hoarse. He sounded wrecked. He sounded exhausted.

 Eager to backpedal, Gabriel said, “Im just a writer looking for material.”

 “And Im Ronald McDonald. But you dont need to worry. I wont

tell anyone.”

 Gabriel felt a great relief hearing that.

 The minister said, “I dont want to repel you people any more than

I want to throw the door open to you. Its hard for me to imagine, but I

do hope that people like your boss will eventually see the wealth available

here to foreign investors. It is a very rich country if you are prepared

to commit for the long term.” His voice had been lifting there at

the end, and he caught himself, shut it down. He sighed. He must have

known he was talking to the wrong person.

 “I understand,” Gabriel said. He didnt know what to say.

 “Anything else?” the minister said.

 “No. Thank you for your time,” he said. Gabriel could hear that the

minister was in traffic. Riding in a limousine through the squalor, probably.

It had to be hard.

 “Fine. Dont call this number again.” The minister hung up.

Fiona answered the door in her white terry-cloth bathrobe, BlackBerry

at her ear. She winked hello and slammed the door behind him. Gabriel

sat down on the sofa, kicked his feet up on the coffee table. Fiona

shimmied out of the robe and flung it onto the bed. She peeked around

the curtain at the city. “I know,” she said into the phone, “thats what I

was saying, but we can always pad it if were still short.” Fiona had been

the South America correspondent for the Journal since Gabriel was a

freshman at Claremont High. And she was proud, he supposed, of her

body rightfully so.

 He took his laptop out of its bag and checked his e-mail. Nothing. It

was Friday, and he was supposed to turn in his report tomorrow. When

she finished her conversation, Fiona chucked her BlackBerry onto the

sofa. “Tell me, Gabriel, why are you still wearing clothes?”

 “Ive been gassed out of my hotel again,” he said, not looking up

from the screen.

 She lit a cigarette and flopped on the sofa beside him. “Thats the advantage

of a five-star hotel: airtight windows.” She smiled. It was a joke.

Sort of. Hotel Presidente boasted that it was the highest five-star hotel

in the world, and though its elevation wasnt in dispute, the five-star status

seemed, to the foreign press who stayed there, a hilarious example

of Bolivian pride in the face of meager circumstances.

 Hotel Gloria, across the street, had a three-star rating but cost half

as much, without much discernible difference in quality. Calloway

would have paid for whatever hotel Gabriel wanted, but Hotel Gloria

was modest enough to help him maintain his cover. So went his thinking.

The décor of both the Gloria and the Presidente must have seemed

terribly modern when they were decorated in the 1970s all pumpkin

shag carpets, cucumber walls, clunky chandeliers, and lots of tawny

glass. It was a look that would have read hip and ironic in New York,

and Gabriel was probably the only foreigner who found its sincerity

in Bolivia refreshing. Unlike the others, he believed that the management

of the hotels knew perfectly well how outmoded their décor was.

It wasnt any funnier than the fact that their roads were falling apart. It

just made an easier target.

 “What do you have planned for the day?” Fiona asked. Little puffs of

smoke staggered out of her mouth as she spoke.

 “Im meeting the IMFs resident representative at three.”

 “Grayson! Im meeting him at one.” She put her cigarette back in the

ashtray. She had ordered scrambled eggs for breakfast, and the plate

sat, untouched, on the coffee table. “Im having lunch with him. You

better not scoop me!” She flashed a lupine grin, and he understood that

it had been a joke: he could never scoop her. Not that it mattered, really.

“Well, Gabriel,” she said, “Ive got forty-five minutes before I have to go

meet him, so I suggest you undress.”

 “I was just wondering if you have the vice presidents number,” he

said.

 “No luck with the finance minister?”

 “No luck with him.”

 “Well, I cant give out the vice presidents number.”

 He nodded, started typing. She made a little show of checking her

watch. “Look,” she said, “there are protests in Sopocachi today, and traffic

 will be awful, so if were not going to fuck right now, I should get

dressed.”

 He looked up at her, blankly as possible, and, feigning befuddlement,

said, “Right, um . . . I just ” He gestured vaguely toward the screen.

 She smiled, barely. Stubbed out her cigarette. “Ouch,” she said.

 “No, no, its not ” he began, but he didnt finish because she waved

him off. It was a funny trick, a special talent of hers, to come across simultaneously

as mocking and genuinely hurt.

 Gabriel believed that Fionas caustic streak was a big part of why she

was still single; that, and the bizarre nudity. In the six days since theyd

shared a taxi from the airport to downtown La Paz, she had been na11

ked at least half the time he saw her. She wrote dispatches naked, ate

room service naked, watched television and conducted conference calls

naked. She had a hearty appetite for sex and fucked vigorously, as if it

were an aerobic routine and he were a piece of equipment in her gym.

At climax her volt-blue eyes squinted and her nostrils flared. When she

smoked afterward, he could sometimes see her heart flexing in her rib

cage. With Fiona, he was often aware that she was a living being, that

her body was a strange thing, a sack full of organs and bones and fluids,

everything in shades of pink and ivory and aubergine.

 She lit a new cigarette, stood up, and went over to her suitcase,

which was splayed on the floor. “What should I wear to lunch?” she

said. “Ive heard Graysons a dreamboat.”

 “Buck-naked seems to work pretty well for you,” Gabriel said.

“Maybe you should show up in the buff?” Then, unable to resist, he

added, “Itd simplify the exchange.”

 She didnt bother answering. She picked up a gray skirt and a pair of

vintage oxblood heels, sat on the edge of the bed, and started to dress,

her cigarette dangling from the corner of her mouth, smoke rising into

her eyes. He put his computer away and stood up.

 “You leaving?” she said from the side of her mouth, squinting at him

through the smoke. She pulled on the skirt, zipped it at the side. She

was not going to wear underwear, apparently.

 “Yeah, Ill see you after.”

 “Do me a favor: bring your libido.”

What Our Readers Are Saying

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poste42, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by poste42)
The Unnamed was haunting and tragic. I nominate it for the 2011 Puddly Award.
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Frank Kelly, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by Frank Kelly)
Unspeakably (or rather, speakably) sad and mysterious.
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Jackie Sanders, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by Jackie Sanders)
My favorite in 2010.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780316034012
Author:
Ferris, Joshua
Publisher:
Little, Brown and Company
Author:
Mountford, Peter
Author:
Miles, Jonathan
Subject:
Domestic fiction
Subject:
Identity (psychology)
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Marriage; Identity; Law
Edition Description:
Cloth
Publication Date:
20100914
Binding:
CD-audio
Language:
English
Pages:
432
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 1.31 lb

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The Unnamed Used Hardcover
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Product details 432 pages Reagan Arthur Books - English 9780316034012 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

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.

"Staff Pick" by ,

Joshua Ferris gives us a terrific character study in The Unnamed. When Tim, a high-powered lawyer, is struck by an unknown disease, he watches, helpless and terrified, as his life falls apart. When there are no answers from the doctors, the question remains: Is he going insane? An amazing story that will absolutely grip you. Wow!

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "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 , "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)
"Review" by , "Wherever Ferris goes, we would do well to follow, in order to learn about ourselves."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "Ferris has now given us two unforgettable novels: a brilliant office satire and a profound metaphysical meditation on love in the face of absurdity."
"Review" by , "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)"
"Review" by , "Audacious, risky and powerfully bleak, with the author's unflinching artistry its saving grace."
"Review" by , "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."
"Synopsis" by , 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.
"Synopsis" by , From the critically acclaimed author of Dear American Airlines, a compulsively readable, deeply human  novel that charts the course of three  intersecting lives—a freegan couple living off the grid in Manhattan, a once prominent linguist struggling with midlife, and a New Jersey debt-collection magnate with a new family and a second chance at getting things right—in a thoroughly contemporary examination of that most basic and unquenchable emotion: want.
"Synopsis" by ,
A compulsively readable, deeply human novel that examines our most basic and unquenchable emotion: want.  
With his critically acclaimed first novel, Jonathan Miles was widely praised as a comic genius “after something bigger” (David Ulin, Los Angeles Times) whose fiction was “not just philosophically but emotionally rewarding” (Richard Russo, New York Times Book Review, front cover).

Now, in his much anticipated second novel, Want Not, Miles takes a giant leap forward with this highly inventive and corrosively funny story of our times, a three-pronged tale of human excess that sifts through the detritus of several disparate lives—lost loves, blown chances, countless words and deeds misdirected or misunderstood—all conjoined in their come-hell-or-high-water search for fulfillment.

As the novel opens on Thanksgiving Day, readers are telescoped into three different worlds in various states of disrepair—a young freegan couple living off the grid in New York City; a once-prominent linguist, sacked at midlife by the dissolution of his marriage and his fathers losing battle with Alzheimers; and a self-made debt-collecting magnate, whose brute talent for squeezing money out of unlikely places has yielded him a royal existence, trophy wife included.

Want and desire propel these characters forward toward something, anything, more, until their worlds collide, briefly, randomly, yet irrevocably, in a shattering ending that will haunt readers long after the last page is turned.

With a satirists eye and a romantics heart, Miles captures the morass and comedy of contemporary life in all its excess. Bold, unblinking, unforgettable in its irony and pathos, Want Not is a wicked, bighearted literary novel that confirms the arrival of a major voice in American fiction.

"Synopsis" by , Joshua Ferris' debut novel Then We Came to the End was both heralded by critics and a New York Times bestseller, and marked the arrival of a startlingly talented young writer. With THE UNNAMED, Ferris imagines the collision between one man's free will and the forces of nature that are bigger than any of us.

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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