The premise of the book is that a bunch of co-workers in an ad agency are facing a round of redundancies due to a downturn in the economy. They're worried about being led into the boss's office and being given their marching orders, but they don't let impending financial ruin get in the way of squabbles and office politics.
All in all, this was an okay book. It did have some very funny bits in it, and the author obviously has a keen eye for observing minutae of life (there’s this bit where the office bore is getting all out of his tree because he switched his office chair with that of a colleague who had just been fired and the office manager tries to make him give it back – it was very amusing), but I don’t think it was supposed to be a comedy as such. It felt like the author was trying to be super clever for the sake of it (i.e. in order to win awards), when it would have made a much more engaging read for the reader if he’d just concentrated on writing a really good story.
It’s like, some authors’ work is just super clever and highbrow and you couldn’t imagine them doing anything else. Kazuro Ishiguro is one such author. Salman Rushdie, Hilary Mantel. Very clever books. Personally, not my kind of thing, but there’s no denying that they are clever.
This book just felt like it would have been a better read if it had just gone down the populist route, and if it had given the impression that the author actually liked his characters. Not to sound dumb, but there’s a reason John Grisham is like a billionaire.
And Then We Came To The End wasn’t a particularly challenging read and the narrative had a very conversational feel to it. I found the use of the collective viewpoint (We did this…. We thought that…..) a bit jarring, but I could see why the author had done it. What also jarred a little was the switch in viewpoints part of the way in. The narrative goes from the collective viewpoint of the office workers worrying about their jobs, to the close third person viewpoint of their boss as she struggles with her cancer diagnosis. It then goes back to the collective viewpoint. I’m sure there was a reason behind this, but I can’t figure out what that reason would be and for me it didn’t really work.