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To Rise Again at a Decent Hour: A Novel | [Joshua Ferris]

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour: A Novel

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (236 )
5 star
 (62)
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3.6 (211 )
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4.2 (206 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Kelley CA, United States 05-19-14
    Kelley CA, United States 05-19-14 Member Since 2012

    Lover of ideas who feels no guilt at all about her pleasures.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Baseball, Religion, and Dentistry"

    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.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessica R Harper 07-20-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Is the performance better than the book?"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    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.


    What other book might you compare To Rise Again at a Decent Hour to and why?

    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.


    What does Campbell Scott bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    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.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Drill, baby, drill!


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    9 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JOHN Plantation, FL, United States 01-24-15
    JOHN Plantation, FL, United States 01-24-15 Member Since 2003

    Audible Member Since 2003

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "One of My Favorites"

    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!

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    BeckyC 12-06-14
    BeckyC 12-06-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Engaging and surprisingly moving book."

    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.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michele Kellett Seattle, WA United States 10-04-14
    Michele Kellett Seattle, WA United States 10-04-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Hilarious Angst"

    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.

    7 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diana Leeds, MA, USA 09-02-14
    Diana Leeds, MA, USA 09-02-14 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Recommended"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laurie Florence, KY, United States 07-11-15
    Laurie Florence, KY, United States 07-11-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Wacky waste of time"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Songvillage 06-25-15
    Songvillage 06-25-15 Member Since 2013
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    "enjoyed it overall"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cathy 06-12-15
    Cathy 06-12-15 Member Since 2009
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    "Funny?"

    I searched for funny books. This one came up as a laugh out loud book. I must not have a sense of humor because I never even smiled during this awful book. What a waste of my time & money.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Annie Warbucks Port Townsend, WA, United States 06-02-15
    Annie Warbucks Port Townsend, WA, United States 06-02-15 Member Since 2013

    I don't like much, but the things I like, I like intensely

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not the right reader"

    Campbell Scott sets the wrong tone for the first half of the book, not as much for the second, but the mismatch exposes the authors flaws as well. This book is basically two short stories forced into one novel. The first half or quarter is a kind of humorous monologue given by a funny dentist. The last quarter of the book is a sort of Dan Brown like literary religious conspiracy take. Unfortunately the bulk of the book is an awkward and largely uninteresting transition between these two tales, redeemed only by the fact that the plot is easy to follow but you're not sure where the author is taking you. Unfortunately
    the main character is so uninteresting in this middle section that it would be easy just to leave the book altogether. White male friends recommended this book to me, and it is very much a white male book. I'd skip this one and listen to Beautiful Ruins instead.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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