The Unnamed – Joshua Ferris

Title: The Unnamed
Author: Joshua Ferris
ISBN: 9780316034012
Pages: 320
Release Date: January 18, 2010
Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books
Genre: Literary Fiction
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Summary:

Tim Farnsworth is a hardworking and honest man.  He is a lawyer at a law firm in New York, and is married to a woman he dearly loves, Jane.  He is happy and healthy, except for a couple of previous lapses in which an unidentifiable sickness took over and almost decimated him.

Now the sickness is back, and Tim is unsure what that means for himself and his family.  In this poignant novel, Joshua Ferris explores the limits of marriage and the depth of love that can bind two people together.

Review:

The Unnamed is a beautifully written study of a marriage under stress due to an illness.  Tim’s sickness is strange and difficult to understand.  There is no physical evidence for what’s wrong with him, so one can’t help but wonder if his issues are psychological.  This is never fully resolved in the novel, and leaves the reader thinking about the difference between physical and psychological illnesses – if it’s “all in someone’s head,” is it more difficult to deal with?  Is it less easy to live with if a disease is a physical manifestation of one’s own psychological issues?

Tim and Jane are an amazing couple whose love really is tested in The Unnamed.  The lengths they have to go to in order to be together and care for one another really is moving.  At the same time, it begs the question, at what point is it enough?  During previous instances of this illness, Jane has had to quit her job in order to care for Tim, and there is no end in sight.  Itexamines the strain an illness puts on a family and makes the reader think and question what they would do in the given situation.

Ferris does an incredible job portraying a realistic marriage in The Unnamed, one in which there is give and take but also selfishness on both sides.  He captures that tension wonderfully, at the same time he portrays their devotion to one another.  It is an amazing study that is as eye-opening as it is beautiful.

Though I read Joshua Ferris’ previous novel, Then We Came To The End, it was The Unnamed that really captured my imagination.  This is a unique book that is as moving at it is wonderfully written.  I definitely recommend it.

Comments

  1. Agreed! This plot was definitely one-of-a-kind. I never knew what was around the next corner, and I was riveted. Great review…

  2. Agreed! This plot was definitely one-of-a-kind. I never knew what was around the next corner, and I was riveted. Great review…

  3. Excellent review. I did enjoy his first book and look forward to this one as well.

  4. Excellent review. I did enjoy his first book and look forward to this one as well.

  5. Yes, that was a great review! Well, Rebecca was serious jonesing over this author once she had finished it, so after the two of you, I don’t think I’ll be able to deny myself.

  6. Yes, that was a great review! Well, Rebecca was serious jonesing over this author once she had finished it, so after the two of you, I don’t think I’ll be able to deny myself.

  7. I finished this book over the weekend and absolutely adored it! Still have to write my review, but I don’t think I can even begin to touch upon the many layers of this novel!

    You should really join the Reagan Arthur Challenge!!! LOL!

  8. I finished this book over the weekend and absolutely adored it! Still have to write my review, but I don’t think I can even begin to touch upon the many layers of this novel!

    You should really join the Reagan Arthur Challenge!!! LOL!

  9. I am listening to this book right now and enjoying every bit of it. Great review!

  10. I am listening to this book right now and enjoying every bit of it. Great review!

  11. Wow, this book has been getting rave reviews everywhere! I really need to keep Ferris on my radar going forward. Thanks for the great review.

  12. Wow, this book has been getting rave reviews everywhere! I really need to keep Ferris on my radar going forward. Thanks for the great review.

  13. I’ve been reading so much about this book and your review has definitely tipped me over into the “I have to read this one for sure” category!

  14. I’ve been reading so much about this book and your review has definitely tipped me over into the “I have to read this one for sure” category!

  15. only a 4.5 eh?

  16. only a 4.5 eh?

  17. I can’t wait to read this book! It sounds so good – I hope I’m not setting my expectations too high after all the great reviews.

  18. I can’t wait to read this book! It sounds so good – I hope I’m not setting my expectations too high after all the great reviews.

  19. I’m really hoping that this is the book I won from Bloggiesta. If not, I’ll be listening to the audio very soon.

  20. I’m really hoping that this is the book I won from Bloggiesta. If not, I’ll be listening to the audio very soon.

  21. THis book has gotten rave reviews. thanks for adding your voice to the mix.

  22. THis book has gotten rave reviews. thanks for adding your voice to the mix.

  23. I met Joshua Ferris recently, and he’s really cool and down to earth. When he signs your book, he traces a pen and signs his name inside the pen.

  24. I met Joshua Ferris recently, and he’s really cool and down to earth. When he signs your book, he traces a pen and signs his name inside the pen.

  25. I was really blown away by this boo too. I wasn’t sure what to expect. The unnamed disease thing seemed a bit gimmicky, but he managed to rise above that and focus completely on the affect it has on Tim’s marriage and relationship with his daughter. I was impressed.

  26. I was really blown away by this boo too. I wasn’t sure what to expect. The unnamed disease thing seemed a bit gimmicky, but he managed to rise above that and focus completely on the affect it has on Tim’s marriage and relationship with his daughter. I was impressed.

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