Joshua Ferris’ recent collection of short stories features pieces previously published, over half of them in the New Yorker and one based on a character from Ferris’ first novel, the pop-lit crossover “Then We Came to the End.” With a singular “gray” humor, Ferris shades 11 unmoored but uninspired Walter Mittys of a more modern capitalism. Each story offers an objective glance at dissatisfaction, each character disappointed with the reality of his or her life and anxiously, ineffectively attempting a rewrite. He or she just can’t seem to decide.
In the search of metaphors for human existence philosophers through the ages have come up with some pretty interesting ideas. Like dreams, film and visual arts are a look at the subconscious, an attempt to make sense of the world that we can never really wrap up into an hour or ten. Movies are life flattened like time in amber, distilled and made just a little bit better. Unfortunately life is like a bad movie. A terrible horrible movie. An awful awful horrible movie that we’re all forced to sit through. If viewed as if life was a movie you'd walk out half way through and get your money back. Life is cruel, short and is ultimately incomprehensible. Our narratives make Troll 2 look like Citizen Kane.
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