Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Then We Came to the End - post II

If the first part of the book is about the different characters in the office and the pain of redundancy then the second part is about Lynn. This is a clever twist because introducing the vulnerability of a boss who is scared of hospitals and suffering from cancer stops you from demonising her.

Without this human side, and it need not have been cancer, you could go through the novel with a hate figures set up to take the blame for all the negative things that happen to the rest of the characters. Not only is Lynn not personally responsible for the downturn leading to redundancies but of course she is not able to cope with the disease that is spreading through her body.

Her loneliness, which is graphically displayed with her decision to sit outside her boyfriend’s office wondering whether or not she should go in, makes her three-dimensional. Ferris is making the point that we are all people and all likely to be victims in different ways of office life.

For Lynn the fear of hospitals and perhaps of knowing the worse means that she will come into the office and hide away on the very day she is meant to have an operation to remove her breasts.

It might be described as a comedy on the blurb on the dust jacket but this is something hitting a different note.

More tomorrow...

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