The Unnamed

The Unnamed

A Novel

Large Print - 2010
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Tim Farnsworth is a handsome, healthy man, aging with the grace of a matinee idol. His wife Jane still loves him, and for all its quiet trials, their marriage is still stronger than most. Then one day he stands up and walks out. And keeps walking.
Publisher: New York : Little, Brown, 2010.
Edition: First large print edition
ISBN: 9780316074001
Characteristics: 421 pages (large print) ;,23 cm.


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Jun 01, 2017

Packing lightly, this is the book I chose to take with me on a 1-week Mexican vacation. I began reading the night before departure, found it compelling, and it proved a good choice. The final 1/3 of the book I found a bit less compelling than the parts that precede it but it continued to hold my interest as I climbed into bed each evening.

Trying to describe the story to my spouse, I hesitated to use the words "mental illness" to describe the main character. It is clear though, some sort of mental illness grips him and determines his fate. The read was satisfying even if it telegraphs, long before the ending, exactly where all of this is headed.

Sep 02, 2014

Ferris’s second novel has been unfavorably reviewed by some critics (and an ax-grinding Jay McInerney) and they have a fair point: The Unnamed is a far cry from Ferris’s acclaimed debut, the comical Then We Came to the End. Reminiscent of Beckett, Faulkner and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, The Unnamed is heart-breaking parable, wonderfully strange, brilliant, spellbinding and moving. It is an illumination of the mentally ill mind and a debate on the necessity of religion. It is an examination of a couple’s cycle of abandonment and commitment to each other. Throw in some devilishly neat twists and tricks and a pinch of good old postmodern suburban American angst and you have an existential page-turner that I found deeply satisfying.

Aug 25, 2014

An unusual topic, and a very rewarding read.

ChristchurchLib Nov 18, 2013

"Happy at work and at home, successful attorney and family man Tim Farnsworth is nevertheless unaccountably compelled to literally walk away from it all - and to continue walking until he collapses in exhaustion. Having suffered through two bouts of this undiagnosable and untreatable illness, his wife knows how to prepare Tim and how to find him, but his compulsion is growing stronger, affecting his work and home life more than ever before. As an allegory for any condition that forcibly takes away an individual's control over his own life - illness, addiction, or even stress - The Unnamed is "utterly compelling" (Booklist)." Fiction A to Z November 2013 newsletter

Nov 05, 2012

Difficult to read...

Jul 03, 2012

Another book with a premise which goes nowhere. A perfect metaphor for all the aimless walking. Some satire, but mostly blah blah blah. The middle of the book has to be skimmed to be endured. All in all, pointless and unnecessary.

debwalker Dec 08, 2010

A man derailed by a perambulatory illness.

Nov 29, 2010

Joshua Ferris has a gift for describing the absurdity of modern life in a way that is funny, touching, and disturbing all at once. He took on office culture in his very enjoyable debut novel Then We Came to the End. In The Unnamed, he has a little more to say about the workplace, but the focus is much more on family relationships.

Tim Farnsworth is an attorney with a rare affliction - he has a compulsion to get up and walk until he collapses. Never knowing when it will strike, he carries a backpack of supplies with him at all times - his walks end up with him falling asleep at random locations outdoors: under a tree, near a dumpster, on the side of the road. Despite being a successful lawyer with a wife and teenage daughter, he lives a semi-homeless lifestyle because of his illness. His wife goes to great lengths to care for him, follow him, pick him up, and bring him back home, but her sacrifice eventually drives them further apart as she becomes frustrated with the intensity of his disease and he feels guilty about his inability to control his walking.

Funny, beautiful, and tragic, The Unnamed is an absolutely compelling story told with a keen eye for detail in description of the scenery, development of the characters, insight into the human mind, and observations about our culture.


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Dec 12, 2015

He had walked and walked to get back to her, and now that she was home, there was nothing more to do. Returning to her, returning to her, returning to her again and again, was not a possible life. It was twice the challenge as the going because he was working on low energy and no sleep. He could do it when it was a matter of life and death. But now, now he needed to let himself rest when it came time to rest, and to move on when it came time to move on, and to do so in the direction of the moving on. p.301

Mar 17, 2012

Wouldn't it have been a luxury to have some crystal ball into which a diviner gazed to map for the young couple their future in sickness and in health, the specifics therein. This one - pointing to the man - is no good for you. Not too far down the line, sweetheart, he will break, and you will be left carrying the load. And what a heavy load it will be. Abort the union now while you still have the chance, or accustom yourself to the short end of the stick. Because a failing body is no grounds for divorce. A failing body and not even your own becomes your personal cross to bear and how fair is that? How desirable.


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Jun 05, 2013

A man named Tim deals with a sickness that no one can diagnose and few people believe. His family struggles to handle his sickness, as Tim struggles with his career.

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