The Pequod Review:
After the success of Joshua Ferris’s excellent first novel (And Then We Came to the End, 2007), most writers would have been happy to churn out a respectable follow-up that struck a similar note. But instead he shifted gears with this dark and unsettling novel about a man afflicted by a compulsive (and unexplained) desire to walk. No matter where he is — at work, at home, anywhere — when the affliction takes hold, he walks until he physically drops. The premise seems ridiculous, but Ferris’s powerful book uses it to explore mental illness more generally, and especially the ways in which it prevents us from appreciating our daily lives. And Ferris combines it with observational prose that recalls Don DeLillo at his best. The Unnamed received mostly negative reviews upon publication — probably from reviewers who were hoping for a sequel to And Then We Came to the End, or at least assuming that their readers would be hoping for a sequel — but this seems to me a more interesting and lasting novel.