Pancreatic cancer

A race against time: A Calling for Charlie Barnes, by Joshua Ferris, reviewed

What is life if not a quest to find one’s calling while massaging the narrative along the way? This question propels the eponymous protagonist, still struggling to wring meaning from his existence even as it crashes to an end, in A Calling for Charlie Barnes, the fourth novel from Joshua Ferris. ‘It preoccupied him: everyone had a calling. It depressed him: he had not found his. It gave him hope: he might still do so before he died,’ writes the story’s narrator, Jake Barnes, about his father, whose life clock is ticking with a cancer diagnosis. ‘The big kahuna of cancers: pancreatic.’ In contrast to his father, Jake has found