Then We Came To The End by Joshua Ferris
This must be the strongest, most well-written comedic first novel about a workplace ever published – it really beats the hell out of that category. It’s like Catch-22 meets The Office.
At first, Then We Came To The End seems like a memoir, like this first-time novelist has simply taken his own experiences from a past workplace and spun them into hilarious literary gold. Even then, the author’s powerful literary talent keeps multiple hilarious coworker anecdotes juggled in the air at the same time and the frenetic pace makes the workday pass quickly.
But at the very end we find out who the narrator really is, and suddenly you realize this author is an even better writer than you thought (and suddenly the weird part in the middle makes sense). A truly excellent first novel. Not quite the same thing as a truly excellent novel, but an exciting showcase of emerging literary talent nonetheless.
No one knows us quite the same way as the men and women who sit beside us in department meetings and crowd the office refrigerator with their labeled yogurts. Every office is a family of sorts, and the ad agency brilliantly depicted in this debut novel is family at its strangest and best, coping with a business downturn in the time-honoured way: through gossip, pranks, and increasingly frequent coffee breaks.