To Rise Again at a Decent Hour

October 11, 2014 § Leave a comment

Joshua Ferris, a National Book Award finalist, has written To Rise Again at a Decent Hour which is shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. So, now that we have that out of the way, I would like to say I loved this novel. Most of my friends who read it were either ambivalent or annoyed by the main character, Paul O’Rourke, who lives in his head. The book is told in a stream of consciousness style that cleverly relays conversations between himself and his devoutly Christian hygienist, Mrs. Connors, as he eggs her on about religion while at the same time seriously trying to understand how she can so clearly believe when he has such problems believing in anything, besides flossing. O’Rourke, a wealthy dentist, is clearly a depressed man looking to belong–his whole life has been about trying to belong to someone or something else rather than to his own sad and broken past.

I think this novel qualifies as serio-comic. It examines very serious questions and themes but with a lightheartedness most will enjoy. I found myself as Paul O’Rourke, able to understand and connect with this man, but very grateful I also wasn’t him. In the process of his own discoveries of happiness and life, he is dragged into this journey as someone begins to impersonate him online, posting text from a religious text few have ever heard of.

You can read the LA Times review online

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