To Rise Again at a Decent Hour
By Joshua Ferris
(Little Brown and Company, Hardcover, 9780316033978, 337pp.)
Publication Date: May 13, 2014
List Price: $26.00*
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Paul O'Rourke is a man made of contradictions: he loves the world, but doesn't know how to live in it. He's a Luddite addicted to his iPhone, a dentist with a nicotine habit, a rabid Red Sox fan devastated by their victories, and an atheist not quite willing to let go of God.
Then someone begins to impersonate Paul online, and he watches in horror as a website, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account are created in his name. What begins as an outrageous violation of his privacy soon becomes something more soul-frightening: the possibility that the online "Paul" might be a better version of the real thing. As Paul's quest to learn why his identity has been stolen deepens, he is forced to confront his troubled past and his uncertain future in a life disturbingly split between the real and the virtual.
At once laugh-out-loud funny about the absurdities of the modern world, and indelibly profound about the eternal questions of the meaning of life, love and truth, TO RISE AGAIN AT A DECENT HOUR is a deeply moving and constantly surprising tour de force.
In Joshua Ferris' third novel, To Rise Again at a Decent Hour, the protagonist is a dentist wrestling with his atheism. Ferris says his character, like all dentists, is "chronically misunderstood." More at NPR.org
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"To Rise Again at a Decent Hour is beautifully written. It's also funny, thought-provoking, and touching. One hesitates to call it the Catch-22 of dentistry, but it's sort of in that ballpark. Some books simply carry you along on the strength and energy of the author's invention and unique view of the world. This is one of those books."—Stephen King
"This is one of the funniest, saddest, sweetest novels I've read since Then We Came to the End. When historians try to understand our strange, contradictory era, they would be wise to consult To Rise Again at a Decent Hour. It captures what it is to be alive in early 21st-century America like nothing else I've read."—Anthony Marra, author of New York Times bestseller A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
"With almost Pynchon-esque complexity, Ferris melds conspiracy and questions of faith in an entertaining way...Full of life's rough edges, the book resists a neat conclusion, favoring instead a simple scene that is comic perfection... Smart, sad, hilarious and eloquent, this shows a writer at the top of his game and surpassing the promise of his celebrated debut."—Kirkus (Starred Review)
PRAISE FOR THE UNNAMED:
"A stunner, an unnerving portrait of a man stripped of civilization's defenses. Ferris's prose is brash, extravagant, and, near the end, chillingly beautiful."—The New Yorker
"Audacious, risky, and powerfully bleak, with the author's unflinching artistry its saving grace."—Kirkus (starred review)
"A portrait of a couple locked in an extreme version of a familiar conflict--the desire to stay together versus an inexplicable yearning to walk away."—O, The Oprah Magazine
"Utterly compelling. . . . Ferris brilliantly channels the suburban angst of Yates and Cheever for the new millenium."—Booklist (starred review)
"An astonishing and compelling novel."—VeryShortList.com
"Accomplished and daring."—Tod Goldberg, Los Angeles Times
"Spellbinding....The Unnamed unfolds in a hushed, shadowed dimension located somewhere between myth and a David Mamet play."—Laura Miller, Salon.com
"Arresting, ground-shifting, beautiful and tragic. This is the book a new generation of writers will answer to. No one in America writes like this."—Gary Shteyngart, author of Absurdistan and The Russian Debutante's Handbook