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“The Unnamed ”

Written on: 14/01/2010 by Harriet Klausner (18637 reviews written)

The Unnamed

Joshua Ferris

Little Brown, Jan 2020, $24.99

ISBN: 9780316034012

In Manhattan, successful attorney Tim Farnsworth thought he had beaten the Unnamed disease, but on a frozen wintry night he tells his beloved wife Jane that his walking addiction is back. He cannot stop himself from hoofing endlessly until exhausted to the brink of collapse. His second bout with the walking disease seems so much worse than the first trek. Jane tries to help him especially making sure he gets home safe though that proves almost impossible as his marches exponentially grow in time and distance. Their daughter Becka wants to keep as far away from her father whose ambulatory treks embarrass and frighten her.

Jane mentally struggles as the "caretaker" of Tim and Becka, but to avoid a breakdown she turns to alcohol. She finally falls apart when she learns she has cancer. Meanwhile, Tim's marathons get longer and longer with no relief in sight so in spite of his attempts to help his wife and daughter with their issues, he is not there for the two women in his life who desperately need him.

Although Tim's treks can feel a bit repetitive, each walk enables the audience to understand a different aspect of his family dynamics especially his relationships with his wife and daughter and to a lesser degree at the law firm. Fascinating though melancholy sad as seemingly Then We Came to the End of existence is the only path a person can travel. However, since an individual's life is relatively short especially in terms of the age of the cosmos, each step on the journey needs to be lived and relished to the fullest even when everything is so gloomy and dark that death might be a consideration.

Harriet Klausner

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