Customer Reviews for

The Unnamed

Average Rating 3.5
( 69 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(11)

4 Star

(23)

3 Star

(23)

2 Star

(9)

1 Star

(3)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 69 Customer Reviews
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  • Posted January 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    An one sitting read

    In Manhattan, successful attorney Tim Farnsworth thought he had beaten the Unnamed disease, but on a frozen wintry night he tells his beloved wife Jane that his walking addiction is back. He cannot stop himself from hoofing endlessly until exhausted to the brink of collapse. His second bout with the walking disease seems so much worse than the first trek. Jane tries to help him especially making sure he gets home safe though that proves almost impossible as his marches exponentially grow in time and distance. Their daughter Becka wants to keep as far away from her father whose ambulatory treks embarrass and frighten her.

    Jane mentally struggles as the "caretaker" of Tim and Becka, but to avoid a breakdown she turns to alcohol. She finally falls apart when she learns she has cancer. Meanwhile, Tim's marathons get longer and longer with no relief in sight so in spite of his attempts to help his wife and daughter with their issues, he is not there for the two women in his life who desperately need him.

    Although Tim's treks can feel a bit repetitive, each walk enables the audience to understand a different aspect of his family dynamics especially his relationships with his wife and daughter and to a lesser degree at the law firm. Fascinating though melancholy sad as seemingly Then We Came to the End of existence is the only path a person can travel. However, since an individual's life is relatively short especially in terms of the age of the cosmos, each step on the journey needs to be lived and relished to the fullest even when everything is so gloomy and dark that death might be a consideration.

    Harriet Klausner

    3 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 21, 2012

    Just didn't appeal to me

    I found it disjointed, odd (not in a good way), and pointless. I really wasn't sure what we were suppose to get out of it or the character relationships. Very strange indeed.

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  • Posted March 4, 2012

    Almost didn't finish

    Right out of the gate, the writing style of this book was a little off-putting. There were some really bizarre and jarring metaphors, that had no connection to anything else written. There are also eyebrow-scrunching passages like--
    --"What do you feel when you see a black albino?" he asked. "Sorrow," she said. He stared through the windshield. "Me, too."--
    Even in context, re-reading the scene before it to make any sense of it, I couldn't. I read a lot of bizarre stuff, and this was still a head-scratcher. As the book progressed, I started to figure out why the tone was how it was, but it still didn't seem justified. There seemed to be a disconnect between the characters and the narrator. Usually they are in sync. If not, then there is a reason, like humor, or maybe satire, as in Tom Perrotta's "Little Children". Here, it was just too discombobulating. Although, reading, i.e., Murakami, just because things are mysterious, bizarre, enigmatic, etc. still doesn't mean you don't go along for the journey. Maybe what the book was lacking at the start was an underlying purpose. I almost stopped reading.
    What Joshua Ferris did get right as the book progressed was the pacing of a thrilling read, and, the frustration and relentless vacillation between hope and despair when a family has to deal with unknown illness. In fact, the book became excellent as I read on. However, despite some of the bizarreness of Tim's life, he still worked and lived in "reality", and it's hard for anyone to except that he wouldn't have suffered consequences for some of his actions.
    So, bad beginning, and exponential improvement as it went on, but, I don't want to wait until I'm around fifty pages into the book before it starts to get good. Why couldn't the beginning of the book be brought up to the same quality as the rest of it? By what I've heard of Joshua Ferris' debut, "Then We Came to the End", I wish I would have read that first, and then bought this book. Now, I'm not so sure I want to read the other. I hope someone buys the book for me, so I can read it without paying for it. Oh yeah, I can just get a library card.

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  • Posted February 16, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Odd, fascinating, intriguing, sad

    In a cruelly cold winter, a man makes his way home to his wife and sadly declares "It's back." So begins Joshua Ferris's The Unnamed, and soon the reader knows of lawyer Tim Farnsworth's unnamed affliction-a body that simply has to walk.

    It's back, and Tim tries to hide his illness, struggling to juggle work and family with unexpected absence and the danger of walking too long, too unready in the cold. His wife rushes out to save him. His daughter's beginning to believe all parents are absent. And his bosses and doctors refuse to believe in what can't be understood.

    .rather like society refusing to believe in freak winters, wild-fire spring, dead birds and nature gone wild.

    The Unnamed is full of metaphors and questions and love. For a while I saw Tim as a metaphor for a broken misunderstood world. Love redeems him, even though he's changed. Body argues with soul, and neither wins. And I'm left wondering what I've learned, or if I should read it again. But I'm left knowing I've read a really fascinating book, that works on so many levels my brain needs a rest. I can't wait for our book group to discuss it!



    Disclosure: A member of our book group recommended this book.

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  • Posted October 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Bridget's Review

    This has to be one of the most heart-wrenching books I have ever read. Throughout the entire book, I felt a strong connection with Tim. He's probably one of my favorite characters of all time. I would give this book five stars.

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  • Posted June 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Stop the madness

    I am trying hard to understand the real point or value to this book. What is the message? Relationships, devotion, devastation of the breakdown of mind and body when faced with illness? I guarantee the message is not hope. Only Becka escapes at the end now that she is free of her parents. The book continually plummets into darkness and depression. I know this is true when even the animals die; be it the wild boars, the bees, or the cow whose legs get broken and left in a field to die; even the secondary characters are lost to death and disease. Stop the madness - thank heavens the book is done!

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  • Posted May 14, 2010

    Story of Relationships

    The main character in this book is a very successful Manhattan lawyer who an unusual condition, previously unheard of in the annals of medicine. He has a compulsion, an irresistible need to walk, that can come upon him suddenly without warning, and which he cannot control. He must continue to walk until he falls exhausted and sleeps, great distances from his starting point. All of the medical experts he has consulted are unable to treat him, and his condition is unnamed. This book explores the effect that this has on his life, his family, his career and his psyche.
    I did not expect to enjoy reading this book as much as I did, at least in the first two-thirds or so of the story, before the man takes off on a journey across the country, rarely contacting his wife and child. That part of the book I found to be more of struggle to get through. I did find the entire effort worth it in the end. The effect that his illness has on his wife and daughter, and on their relationships with each other, was a great read.

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  • Posted May 3, 2010

    And I read some of this on my treadmill!

    Imagine waking up one morning with this totally bizarre condition: walking! Walking relentlessly, without destination and no real hope of being able to stop when desired. Tim Farnsworth is the victim of a compulsion that on the surface may appear innocuous, but in the over-all impact on every aspect of his life is utterly devastating. It was easier to relate to the character of Tim's wife, Jane, as she struggles with attempts to deal with her husband's affliction and the consequences on their lives, than it was to relate to the character of Tim; although Tim warrants considerable compassion, his personality becomes less dimensional, not because of the author's writing, but because of the all-consuming nature of his compulsion and the flattening of his personality in satisfying this monster in his life. Later in the novel, the character of Tim and Jane's daughter makes a stronger appearance, but this seems to be almost more of an after-thought. I found the physical effects of the relentless walking on Tim's body, and Jane and Tim's strategies to cope to be the most intriguing part of the whole book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Compelling view of an illness

    I thought this book was a stark and real account about how chronic disease invades a life and alters it forever. It doesn't matter if the disease is Unnamed, parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis or ALS. The issues of loss, faith, guilt, hope and how you fit into life are vastly underrepresented in most modern fiction. Nicely done.

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  • Posted April 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Should have been "UnWritten"

    Ok so maybe that's a little harsh. The story did have some high points, the problem being they were too far apart, like page one and page 313. I feel the writer makes a promise and never really delivers. Just like the character in the story he just doesn't know when to stop. By far not the worst book I've read but I beleive if that's the best you can say about a book , well that's a sad statement.

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  • Posted April 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Reminds me of "Time Traveler's Wife" but not as good

    In the Time Traveler's Wife, the main character had a genetic problem which made him leave his current time period and travel to other periods. This "problem" wreaked havoc on his life, his body and his relationship. The Unnamed was pretty much the exact same plot except instead of time traveling, this main character went walking. In both cases, the main character left their families, left their jobs, got into physical problems, was out in the elements and suffered severe physical and emotional hardships due to their affliction.

    Even with the element of time travel, I connected with the characters in TTW far more than in The Unnamed. The love story in TTW was more heartfelt and it was a much more moving book.

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  • Posted March 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Ferris Wheel

    The Unnamed is a book full of imagination. I so wanted to like it, but for me it just kept getting worse as the characters endured their conditions. I give Ferris credit for cleverness, but does it have to be so depressing?

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    The Unnamed

    Intersting story line. Author was able to make you really care about the characters and the trials and tribulations suffered due to an unnamed illness.

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  • Posted January 22, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A SOLID READ

    NOT THE BEST, BUT IT IS GOOD!

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted December 27, 2011

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    Posted January 18, 2010

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    Posted October 21, 2010

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    Posted January 21, 2010

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    Posted April 10, 2012

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    Posted June 3, 2012

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 69 Customer Reviews
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