Archive for March 23rd, 2010

March 23rd, 2010

The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris

by Gwen


The Unnamed

I knew nothing about this book. The cover has just been floating around in my brain for a while for some reason, so when I saw it at the library, I grabbed it. I didn’t read the blurb until I got home.

Tim Farnsworth is a handsome, healthy man, aging with the grace of a matinee idol. His wife, Jane, still loves him, and for all its quiet trials, their marriage is still stronger than most. Despite long hours at the office, he remains passionate about his work, and his partnership at a prestigious Manhattan law firm means that the work he does is important. And even as his daughter, Becka, retreats behind her guitar, her dreadlocks, and her puppy fat, he offers her every one of a father’s honest lies about her being the most beautiful girl in the world.

He loves his wife, his family, his work, his home. He loves his kitchen. And then one day he stands up and walks out. And keeps walking.

Hmm. Looked promising and now that I have finished, I am still looking for the promising somewhat.

Tim Farnsworth does indeed walk out on his family, but not to some fabulous wife with a young secretary or anything. He literally walks and walks and walks. He can’t stop walking, no matter that it is the dead of winter or that his toes are falling off from frostbite. He has been to countless specialists, tried every cleanse known to man and at times has his wife and daughter handcuff him to the bed. Nothing works, he just takes off.

This may sound a bit comedic, but it isn’t. I hated him for it. I can always find a tiny bit of sympathy for the most evil character in a book, not this guy. He absolutely refuses to accept that it might be a mental disorder and won’t listen to anyone that doesn’t concur with him that it is a physical malady. He can’t be nuts, so he isn’t. Never mind the fact that he worries his family to death and often calls them to pick him up miles away in the middle of god knows where wearing nothing but his boxers. He is destroying his wife and daughter’s lives, but he just keeps walking.

In the end, The Unnamed is a bit of a love story. His family learns to let go and get on with their own lives. They love him, but realize that they can’t expect anything from him. It reminded me of the tough love mantra I learned in college psychology courses for dealing with alcoholics and the like. “Let go with love.” (I never liked that phrase then and still can’t pull it off now)

Am I glad that I read the book? Sure, I am grateful for every book that I get to read.

Would I suggest that you read it? Not really. Some will enjoy it, but I am having a hard time deciding what group I would suggest it to.

The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris

Hardcover: 320 pages

Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books (January 18, 2010)

ISBN-10: 0316034010

ISBN-13: 978-0316034012