A big, brilliant, profoundly observed novel about the absurdities of modern life and one man's search for meaning, by National Book Award Finalist Joshua Ferris, one of the most exciting voices of his generation.
Paul O'Rourke is a Manhattan dentist with a thriving practice leading a quiet, routine-driven life. But behind the smiles and the nice apartment, he's a man made of contradictions, and his biggest fear is that he may never truly come to understand anybody, including himself.
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.
©2014 Joshua Ferris (P)2014 Hachette Audio
Audible Member Since 2003
This is one of my favorite books in quite some time. Without repeating the Publisher’s Summary, the story is told in the first person from the point of view of the central character, Park Avenue dentist Paul O’Rourke. It most certainly is an unusual and pleasantly quirky book that caught my attention from the beginning. I wasn’t sure where it was going, but I was captivated and eager to find out.
Brilliantly written, parts of the story are really funny although this book is not a comedy. It questions the existence of God, although it is not a book about religion. With many references to professional baseball, particularly the Boston Red Sox, it is not a book about sports.
Paul O’Rourke’s dental staff consists of three women – his ex-girlfriend and current office manager Connie (O’Rourke never did give her this work title), his hygienist and devoted Catholic Mrs. Betsy Convoy, and Abby; his assistant with whom he works eight hours a day but never converses with. He sees her eyes and feels she is judging him behind her pink paper mask.
In an effort to get to the bottom of the mystery about who created his unwitting online persona; a professional website for his practice, a personal Facebook page, and Twitter account (with lots of activity), Dr. O’Rourke is led down a rabbit hole that causes him to look at just who he is and his purpose in life.
Excellent book and perfectly narrated by Campbell Scott I give it Five Stars across the board. Highly recommended!
A wonderful book--I felt that I came to really know the characters, quirks and all, and I found the story to be very engaging. It was a surprisingly moving book as well. And very thought provoking too in getting at some of the big questions about life and how we find the strength to go on. But there is nothing heavy handed in the author's deft exploration of these issues.
I loved Joshua Ferris' first book, "Then We Came to the End", because it was funny, it described a world I knew and because the writing itself was so playful. But "To Rise at a Decent Hour" is much much better. It sounds utterly deadly: a dentist has an existential crisis. But this story reminds us that depression is a highly active, intense state of being, and in this case it is nothing less than Jacob wrestling with the angel. Only with really funny jokes, a great running gag, and characters we really like.
My favorite books take me to a new reality, or identify the reality I know in a stronger, clearer light. This does both. It's funny, sometimes laugh out loud so, and sad, sometimes funny and sad at the same time. And it's very wise. It's as strong and remarkable as And Then We Came To The End, Ferris' previous tour-de-force. Definitely recommended. The performance is spot on.
This is one of those rare audiobooks where the performance is possibly better than the material. Campbell Scott does a perfect reading, understated and funny to match the prose
I would definitely recommend the audiobook for the performance, as well as for the fact that i think Joshua Ferris is a sharp and funny writer.
This is a unique writer who defies comparison. His subject matter is modern like Dave Eggars, but he has a sharp wit and a deep cynicism that make his voice distinct and different from any I've read.
Campbell Scott simply knows how to do it. He's a superb actor who knows that the art of reading an audiobook is very particular. He underplays, and has enough sense to know that really good prose just needs to be delivered simply, with no unnecessary flourish. He also reads dialogue scenes with an expert sense of rhythm and subtlety that is very unusual in this genre.
Drill, baby, drill!
This is the first book I've read in a while that really caught my interest due to eh unique style and gift of the writer and to the expertise of the reader. I recommend it highly, although I believe it may not appeal to all.
Lover of ideas who feels no guilt at all about her pleasures.
The publisher's summary had me very excited to listen to this book! Identity theft on the internet - love that idea. Sadly, the publisher's summary is very misleading. Don't be fooled - There's no twisty-turny, laugh-out-loud, fantastical story about online mischief here. The book is far more philosophical. (Why this strong desire to turn one thing into everything?) In other words, it's thinky pain from start to finish. Beautiful prose. Lovely insights. But also, (from my perspective,) a very tedius (2 out of nine hours) exploration of religion (Judaism in this case).
The dentistry, on the other hand, was fascinating. Vividly depicted and engaging.
And Campbell Scott is an amazing narrator.
The narrator does a tremendous job in taking the listener, no, guiding them through a witty display of the multitude of aspects that create thought and feeling; reminding us to just do. If you enjoy a bit of cynicalism, irony, and just an overall sense of well damn sometimes, its worth the listen. It's a little rocky at first, but develops ever so nicely.
Book-lover and outdoor adventurer, with a long commute & serious addiction to audio-books.
The author did a great job of conveying the main character's quirks and neuroses.
I liked how the author revealed flashes of great compassion in the main character in spite of his outward nature toward those around him. I especially liked his relationship with the elderly client who could not floss his own teeth.
The main character.
This was one of the strangest books I have listened to in a long time. While the dental perspective was interesting, the rest of the story was just BIZARRE. Wish I had asked for a refund.
funny at first, serious thoughts about identity in the end; a lot of religious stuff got me off balance, voice is somewhat monotone. the idea behind the book and the jokes are above average.
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