A review of
by Joshua Ferris
Dear Joshua Ferris,
Do you realize that you’ve written the second great novel about obsessive-compulsive disorder published in the past decade? (I plan to shelve it next to Tom McCarthy’s Remainder, with its hypnotic rhythm of repetition and control.) I know The Unnamed is supposed to remain just that—the novel goes to great lengths to avoid being reductive, and Tim visits every breed of specialist in an attempt to determine whether his singular malady is medical, psychological, or nestled in some in-between grey area… but your protagonist’s central malady just has too much in common with OCD, a brainworm that can wax and wane. How chilling, then, when Tim first says those words—“It’s back”—that signify the return of his obsessive, compulsive walking. (I imagine the words uttered in a dread-filled whisper, like something out of an Argento flick about the inexplicable and cruel depths of the human body. You’ve written a medical horror story.)
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