Buzz Book Club: Then We Came to the End, Section Three

Welcome back Buzz Book Club readers! This week my June selection, Then We Came to the End, continues to be a potent mix of hilarious insights into the American working life and sad moments of souls being crushed. It's easy to see why this has been such a critically successful book: The tone is so spot-on.

Here's a recap of how the Book Club goes if you're new: Every week I'll suggest chapters to complete by the next post (which, in this case, will go up every Friday in June). In these weekly Book Club posts, I'll posit a few questions to prompt discussion in the comments section.

Of course, you are always welcome to read beyond the weekly chapters, but please don't spoil anything in the comments! After the jump you'll find some questions that struck me as I read this section.

The next assignment: Finish the book! We'll discuss the end next Friday, June 27.

To discuss the third part of Then We Came to the End (in which we read the chapter titled "The Thing to Do and the Place to Be" and the first two chapters of the section called "Returns and Departures."), read more.

  1. In "The Thing to Do and the Place to Be," the narration suddenly switches from the collective "we" of the office workers to the mind of Lynn Mason. Why do you think Ferris wanted to tell Lynn's story in that way? Did the change in style work for you?
  2. By this point, it's pretty clear that the book is far more character-driven than plot-driven. Some action does happen (Yop tossing the chair into the river, etc.), but for the most part, it takes a backseat to the new things we're learning about the characters. Are there particular characters whose stories are keeping you engaged with the book? Are you having a hard time caring about any of them?
  3. This section taught us a lot about Joe, especially through his story about why he strives not to be a part of any group. Do you think that helps or hinders him in his office relations? And do you think, as Genevieve says, that "everybody's part of a group"?
  4. I was struck by this passage: "Even with the best of intentions, it was impossible not to offend one another. We fretted over the many insignificant exchanges we found ourselves in from day to day . . . and next we knew, we had offended someone with an offhand and innocent remark." That seemed to sum up so much of the overly polite but subtext-laden conversation that takes place in offices everywhere. Could you relate to that — from your office work or otherwise?
  5. As we are easing into the final section of the book, do you have any theories or ideas about what the title, Then We Came to the End, might mean?