Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris

4th January 2008 at 00:00

Did you bounce into the classroom this morning, brimming with joy at the thought of spending another year imparting the fruits of your knowledge to fresh young minds? No? Then rest assured you're not the only big phoney going through the motions for the sake of a warm place to sleep and a decent meal.

The office drudge has been fair game since last century, when films such as Brazil and sitcoms such as The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin satirised the soulless monotony of labouring at arm's length from anything approaching real life.

More recently, The Office depicted workers' pitiful attempts to escape from their bonds and assert their individuality through expressive dancing and memorising The Muppets theme tune.

Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris (pictured) falls firmly in that tradition. The book, written in the first person plural, offers a witty, deadpan chorus from a roomful of office workers attempting to reconcile themselves to life indoors.

Altogether now: "We were fractious and overpaid. Our mornings lacked promise. At least those of us who smoked had something to look forward to at 10.15am. We thought moving to India might be better ... or working with our hands. No one ever acted on these impulses ..."

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