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The Yearling
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
Then We Came to the End - Joshua Ferris I've now done 10 years in open-plan offices. There was an incident at work last year where two colleagues and I realised we’d formed our own self-confirming gossip circle: Colleague A shared a rumour with me, I passed it on to Colleague B, and then they’d got together, told each other, and believed the rumour now had multiple sources [“I heard she drank…” “Ooh, I heard that too”].So there were parts of this I related to very strongly, like the circuitous attempt to seek out the source of a particular rumour and the desire to know things, endlessly obsessing over trivial things [“my legitimate chair!”], congregating by the desk of the person with the best stories, how much time you can spend with people without really knowing them, how trivially irritating it can all be, the vague and generally unacted-upon sense that you could or should do something else, something better or more satisfying.Ferris, and the use of the collective ‘we’ to narrate, capture all this incredibly well. While the characters mostly stay on the surface, each has moments where you realise that that they’re much more than that, but that the workplace doesn't care or know what to do with the surplus.The book was weirdly compelling for me, and both sad and occasionally quite funny.