Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, this big, brilliant, profoundly observed novel by National Book Award Finalist Joshua Ferris explores the absurdities of modern life and one man's search for meaning.
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.
Paul O'Rourke, the main character of Ferris's (Then We Came to the End) new book, is a dentist. And he's a good one, informed and informative even if the mouths that once seemed so erotic have devolved into caves of bacteria, pain, and lurking death. Ferris depicts Paul's difficulties: in the workplace, he struggles to say good morning, has problems with the office manager (who's also his ex-girlfriend), and likewise has problems with the devout Catholic hygienist, who can't see why he doesn't believe. A constant ruminator and obsessive Red Sox fan, Paul would like to believe and belong, but he can't. And then the Ulms, who claim to be followers of Amalek (a figure from the Old Testament), hijack his Internet presence and claims him as their own. As an angry and incredulous Paul reads "his" tweets, learns about the unlikely history of the Ulms, and tries to figure out what it all means, readers may find themselves questioning whether the drama of the Ulms amounts to much. Paul is an appealing albeit self-involved everyman, but Ferris's effort to take on big topics (existential doubt, grief, identity, the Internet, the lure and limits of religion, and the struggle to floss in the face of life's meaninglessness) feels more like a set of thought experiments than an organic or character-driven story.
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Great ending but so slow
Would not recommend. I found myself skipping over several pages because they ran on.
Almost didn’t buy because of some of the negative reviews. Read an excerpt and was immediately hooked. To me was even better than his first book. If you like “real life” type stories with a quirky twist then i think you’ll really like this book. Easy read, breezed through in a weekend.