The Unnamed, By Joshua Ferris

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The Independent Culture

In his second novel, Joshua Ferris abandons the comic tone of his well-received debut, Then We Came To The End, about the American workplace. He places this story in the American homestead, and this gently mournful account describes a rare, unnameable disorder which leads his central character, Tim, to walk out of a successful, middle -class life - a job at a law firm, a supportive wife and daughter, and roam the streets like an urban nomad, fighting for surival among the elements.

Tim's compulsion to walk and walk is involuntary and leaves him guilt-ridden over abandoning his family. Yet his compulsion also serves as metaphor for the rejection of modern life for something more elemental, if unattainable.

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