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To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour

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Sarah Broadhurst's view...

Shortlisted for The Man Booker Prize 2014.

Paul O’Rourke is a New York dentist who admits to passions for baseball and one or two women. A bogus website is set up in his name and in trying to uncover the perpetrator he meets another ‘victim’. The group, an ancient sect, running the website, a hoax Facebook page and many email exchanges and tweets are called the Ulm, enemies of Jews, so the postings become very anti-Semitic. This is a ridiculous situation that gets progressively worse as Paul meddles and tries to resolve things. Paradoxically, in doing so, he seems able to make sense of his life. It is the sort of tale that would make a good TV sitcom, no thrills, no cliff hangers or excitement, just good fun, spot on observations and excellent writing.

If you like Joshua Ferris you might also like to read books by Jennifer Egan, John O'farrell and Matt Beaumont.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst

The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. Paul O’Rourke is a hugely successful New York dentist with a flourishing practice and a dark sense of humour, who looks on the surface to have everything to make him content, but he is not. His passion for the Red Sox verges on obsession, as does his preoccupation with failed relationships with various girlfriends, including Connie, his receptionist, and he is an atheist who is uncomfortable with his lack of belief, awkwardly latching on to Connie’s Jewish family. Then an anonymous person creates a website for the practice, and begins to impersonate Paul online, and on social media, and suggests Paul is descended from an ancient Biblical tribe, the Amelkites. As Paul’s obsession switches to finding the perpetrator, the novel questions the nature of belief and the importance for human beings of belonging to a ‘tribe’, whatever form that might take.
~ Fiona Lafferty

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To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris

Shortlisted for The Man Booker Prize 2014.

Joshua Ferris' dazzling new novel To Rise Again at a Decent Hour is about the meaning of life, the certainty of death, and the importance of good oral hygiene. There's nothing like a dental chair to remind a man that he's alone in the world' Paul O'Rourke, 40 year-old slightly curmudgeonly dentist, runs a thriving practice in New York. Yet he is discovering he needs more in his life than a steady income and the perfect mochaccino. But what? As Paul tries to work out the meaning of life, a Facebook page and Twitter account appear in his name. What's at first an outrageous violation of privacy soon becomes something more frightening: the possibility that the online Paul might be a better version of the man in the flesh. Who is doing this and will it cost Paul his sanity? Slick, sophisticated and very funny ...has modern Everyman fighting for his identity in an increasingly impersonal world . (Daily Mail). (on Then We Came to the End). Brilliant, funny, stomach-turningly accurate . (Observer). (on Then We Came to the End). He has teased ordinary circumstances into something extraordinary, which is exactly what we want our fiction writers to do . (Economist). (on The Unnamed). Joshua Ferris was born in Illinois in 1974. He is the author of Then We Came to the End (2007), which was nominated for the National Book Award and longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, and The Unnamed. In 2010 he was selected for the New Yorker's prestigious '20 under 40' list. He lives in upstate New York.


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

Smart, sad, hilarious and eloquent ... a writer at the top of his game and surpassing the promise of his celebrated debut Kirkus 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

Geek-smart prose and wry humour ... hilarious -- Economist Genuine, funny, tragic and never dull. It'll also leave you flossing with a vengeance -- GQ

About the Author

Joshua Ferris

Joshua Ferris was born in Illinois in 1974. He attended the University of Iowa and the University of California, Irvine. He now lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Book Info

Publication date

13th May 2014


Joshua Ferris

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Viking an imprint of Penguin Books Ltd


352 pages


Literary Fiction
All Shortlists and Winners
eBook Favourites
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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