Congratulations to #48, Enyl! I’ve emailed you already. I hope you enjoy the book!The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris 320 pages Published January 18, 2010 Fiction, literary
I’m actually kind of saddened to think that I read the best book of 2010 in January.
The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris is about Tim Farnsworth and his wife, Jane. Tim is a lawyer, and Jane is a real estate agent, and when the book opens, they’re very successful and have a 17-year-old daughter. Tim has a strange disease that has re-emerged after being in remission for years.
This disease that Tim has causes him to walk: to walk away from wherever he is, and walk until he’s so exhausted that he lays down to sleep wherever he is. Tim walks and walks, and historically his walking has only lasted a few months, though one time it continued for a year. This time, though, how long will it last? How long can he survive being exposed to the elements, and how long can his marriage be considered a marriage as he takes off without warning and keeps his wife and daughter scared for his safety?
On the surface this is about marriage and love, and how long either can last when put to the test by an unnamed, unknown factor. Something affecting Tim affected the whole family, as Jane observes, “But this misfortune was not his and his alone!” Tim also realizes that with a family, he’s no longer an autonomous being: “He had to recognize that his sickness was not his alone.” How often we think that our actions shouldn’t or won’t or can’t affect others, but they do, particularly family members.
Digging a little deeper, Tim’s disease of having to walk could be representative of anything he desires to walk away from. He’s a high powered attorney with lots of pressure to succeed. How much of that pressure can a person bear before they just want to walk away? And who of us haven’t wanted to (at one time or another) walk away from our families?
This is a haunting and beautiful story. I loved seeing the sacrifices that Tim and Jane made for each other, because it’s in the hard times that those sacrifices actually mean something. I can’t argue that The Unnamed isn’t melancholy or sad, because it is. But I CAN argue that The Unnamed will make you wish all books were written so deftly.
This book is being released today, so please, I BEG YOU, do yourself a favor and go buy this book, check it out from the library, or steal it from the person sitting next to you on the subway. Kidding!
Rating: 100 out of 100
Giveaway: I’ll be going to see Joshua Ferris when he comes to Kepler’s Books on February 5, 2010. At that time, I will purchase a copy of The Unnamed to give to one person who comments on my blog. To enter to win, please leave a comment telling me whether you like to hike. This contest will close on January 31, 2010 at 11:59pm PST. The book will be shipped out on February 6, 2010, and the winner has the option of having the author personalize the book. Contest is open internationally. Good luck!
Book source: I received this book as a review copy from the publisher.
And one more thing? If you click on one of The Unnamed links and buy something from Amazon, I’ll make a commission! Mwahahahaha!! Maybe with the pennies I make I’ll be able to call someone who cares.
You can thank the FTC for this disclosure!