Fans of Joshua Ferris's wonderful ' Then we Came to the End' will be surprised by 'The Unnamed.' Ferris's new novel is also split between the office life (this time a law office) and the home life of it's characters, but here is where the similarities between the two books end.
'The Unnamed' is the very surreal story of Tim Farnsworth, a handsome, wealthy, happily-married lawyer, who finds his comfortable life intermittently interrupted by an unnamed disorder, which forces him to start walking, and to keep walking until at the point of exhaustion he falls asleep, wherever he might be. We meet Tim after a period of remission, when the disorder suddenly takes hold of him again.
In beginning the story at this point Ferris avoids lengthy description of the disagnostic process, of the many tests that Tim undergoes and the various methods he uses to try and control his disorder. Instead 'The Unnamed' cuts right to the chase, this being the implications of such a strange sydrome upon Tim as a father, a husband and a lawyer. The result is a tender, yet amusing narrative, which mixes the wacky unpredicability of the unnamed disorder with the bitter realism of everyday life admirably.