The list of characters in Then We Came to the End is very long and complicated. The best way to read the novel is to note the names and identifying traits of each main character until they become familiar.

First there is the narrator, who fills in background and other informative details. Using the unusual point of view of the plural pronoun “we,” the narrator places himself or herself in the midst of the antics of the coworkers, the shared tension and frustration as well as the companionship, but never is provided a name or personality. It is the narrator who introduces the other characters, beginning with Lynn Mason. Lynn is one of the partners of the ad agency and is in charge of a group of writers and artists. She remains professionally aloof from the others throughout most of the story, until the narrator focuses on her life away from the office and invites the reader to see beyond the solid exterior to the rampant fear inside of her. Lynn is married to her work, though when she goes home, she longs for companionship. It is not clear if she always was like this, or if she has become vulnerable since finding a lump in her breast. Lynn waits too long to be diagnosed and dies at the end of the novel.

Joe Pope is Lynn’s assistant. Unlike most of the other characters, he keeps to himself. He has risen quickly in the company. It is suggested that this is because he does not waste time and he works very late. The others do not trust him. They often feel that Joe is spying on them and making reports to Lynn.

Benny Shossburger is a senior art director and has a nice-sized office next to Joe’s. Benny is the opposite of Joe. Benny wants to know everything about everyone, at least on the surface. He loves having people collect inside his office and often calls out to people as they pass by. Benny is secretly in love with Marcia Dwyer—but it’s actually only a secret to Marcia. Everyone else knows how he feels....

(The entire section is 610 words.)