"Such a promising book, such a disappointing end"
My main summary is better coming at the beginning rather than the end, so I dont disillusion you - believe me, having read this book, I now know how that feels.
So, imagine you're Fabio Capello (the England manager). For the last 2 years you have been working with some of the highest paid footballers in the world, you're unbeaten in qualifying and now you're sitting in a FIFA hall awaiting the World Cup draw. You stand a good chance of doing well in this tournament as long as the draw works favourably for you.
Now imagine you are Joshua Ferris (the author of this book). You have worked hard for a BA in English and Philosophy; whilst working full time you also study and gain an MFA in writing. Your hard work is rewarded by achieveing a book which is to be printed in 25 different languages to plenty of critical aclaim (that book being 'then we came to the end') and you settle down on your next novel brimming with lot's of idea's.
Are you noticing similarities? Well, it's uncanny (can you tell i read this book during the World Cup by the way?!).
Just as Ferris start's his book introducing the plot with a challenging idea of intrigue over an unexplained illness to his main character. Capello cannot hide his delight at seeing a draw that should not only see England top their group, but also quite possibly make it all the way through to the Semi-finals before they even have to play one of the recognised "top teams".
Both Ferris and Capello are stood at the centre of a tunnel of opportunities. Why then, did both decide to walk down it ignoring all the doors on either side with neon lights pertruding deliberately in an unmissable fashion with signs such as "this plot will lead to undeniably jaw dropping twist" or (in Capello's case) "play a goalkeeper who has had a good season to reduce the risk of mistakes".
So there are the choices, and we the fan/reader, being secretly optomistic anticipate the twists and turns ahead of us....
In a move that echoes England's world cup campaign, I shall abruptly end this review.
In summary, the one detail the book didn't share with England's World Cup progress was that, although performing well under the par it had set itself up to, it carried on to the bitter end....leaving me wishing I had either read Tony Blair's autobiography, liked Cricket, or had Sky Sports Extra which was televising the National Paint drying championships....