By Tina Jordan
Updated February 23, 2007 at 05:00 AM EST

Then We Came to the End

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In Then We Came to the End, Joshua Ferris, a former adman, skewers life at a Chicago advertising agency that’s downsizing. As they try to avoid being laid off, Ferris’ motley officemates fixate, often hilariously, on furniture, practical jokes, and whether or not their boss does, in fact, have cancer. The flip side to Ferris’ cutting humor is an almost unremitting sadness: All the characters’ lives are bleak, so perhaps it’s no wonder they try to cheer themselves by sending ”poopie” e-mails and wrapping offices in biohazard tape. While amusing, this juvenile sensibility wears thin at 387 pages — I would’ve enjoyed the novel a lot more had it been a hundred pages shorter. B

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Then We Came to the End

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