Tim and Jane Farnsworth live a good life. Tim, partner at an established and successful law firm, loves his work and his job. He and Jane travel to exotic locales – their next trip will be to Kenya on safari – and Jane, still beautiful, is devoted to Tim and their teenage daughter, Bekka.
Sometime in the past, a strange and unexplicable disease has pushed Tim to his and Jane’s limits. However, it has always gone away within the year, and Tim feels he is himself again. Until it returns. Worse than ever. Tim has seen doctor after doctor, who slyly remind him that it might be psychosomatic in nature. It might be something in his head, some synapse that doesn’t fire or fires too much. But Tim knows that is not the case. And now, after many years of peace, it has come back.
Jane panics, while Bekka looks askance with annoyance. Her father wanders off on strange walking excursions in the bitterest of winter, risking his life and shattering his family’s life. And he has absolutely no control. Doctors find nothing wrong. When he walks out of his client’s – an innocent client- defense meeting, his partners begin to doubt Tim’s sanity. When the client is convicted, he is demoted from partner to staff attorney. Tim’s brilliance mentally cannot counterbalance his body’s lack of control. When he is almost raped by a street person he finds himself lying next to one night, he starts wearing a helmet to protect injuries to his head. This is after jane has tried handcuffing him to the bed, run out into the middle of the night finding him by the GPS Tim carries – until he loses it, along with his emergency backpack. Bekka finally realizes that her father’s anguish is real and becomes her father’s stalker, trying to keep him alive.
This time the disease does not disappear, but gets worse and worse. Jane cannot live with the destruction and tries to find another life – but she cannot let go of her love for Tim.
As the disease takes over Tim’s entire existence, Jane and Bekka fall away. When Tim finds out that Jane has cancer, he makes a monumental effort to return home to tell her goodbye.
The desolation and destruction of Tim and his family is counteracted b y the emotion and humanity Mr. Ferris imbues in his characters. We become as frantic as Jane and Bekka, and cannot accept the homeless man that Tim becomes. This book is a major tour de force. As we, along with Tim, Jane and Bekka, find our lives dismantled by what cannot be overcome, we draw that much closer inside the novel. The tenderness, the human capacity to fight, Tim’s utter devotion to letting his family go free from his unknown direction fills every heartbeat of this novel with passion and heart. Tim’s fight is our fight and I would notbe surprised to see this novel as a 2010 National Book Award Winner. Rabid with human connection, the deepness of love, and the devotion of loyalty, along with prose that propels itself forward as relentlessly as Tim’s quest, this is a book of rare quality.
Ratings are based on a 5-star scale
Book Review by Broad “A” – Ava
The Unnamed is available for purchase from Amazon.com for $14.99 or from your local bookseller for $24.99
Thank you to the Hachette Book Group for providing this title for our book review as well as this giveaway. We were in no way paid or compensated for our opinions.
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