To Rise Again At A Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris
|To Rise Again At A Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Zoe Morris|
|Summary: Life, death, God and flossing. Just another day in the life of Paul O'Rourke, DDS.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 352||Date: May 2014|
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2014
Winner: International Dylan Thomas Prize 2014
An identity thief is wreaking havoc in the oddest of ways and forcing a dentist to confront his online presence. This is a book like no other you’ll know.
We were having a discussion the other day about how there are lots of TV shows about doctors and lots about lawyers, but other professions, say accountants or vets or dentists, get less of a look in. Just not as sexy, we thought. Just not as funny. Then this book came along and, in an extremely timely manner, changed my mind entirely. This is the stuff sitcoms could be made of.
Dr Paul O'Rourke is a delightfully damaged and disturbed individual. The best kind of hero for a story like this. He has his ways of doing things (Red Sox rituals) and his ways of not doing things (his practice is quite fine without an online presence, thank you very much), so when some random comes along and interrupts this – by creating a website for him without his knowledge, blessing or permission – he is furious.
This is a book about lots of things: work, women, religion and, yes, the internet. Paul is more successful in some arenas than others, but it’s his relationships in and out of work that keep the story going and the reader smirking at his many misdemeanours. This is a quirky character story by which I mean the people are more important than the plot itself. It’s quite unusual, both in the direction the story goes and the way it’s presented, and this was enough to hook me in at the beginning, though I did find the whole thing a tad too long. There’s lots to say about Paul but not all of it is massively relevant, even if it is interesting, and the story would still move out without knowing some of the intricacies of his past.
I’m not sure this book left me with much faith in dentists, but it definitely entertained me. This is a clever book with lots of neat observations and reflections, while at the same time digressing extensively and often.
It took me a while to work out what the book was about but after a while I stopped trying to pinpoint it, and let it wash over me instead. Paul says the things very few people say, especially in books or movies, and his ability and willingness to do this definitely brings the book up a few notches. His third world work is brilliant, for example. The reluctant do-gooder, he’s cynical and self-centered. It’s rather wonderful.
I wasn’t too sure at the time, but looking back, I really did enjoy it. I’d like to thank the publishers for sending us a copy. As for my advice for you: read it, enjoy it. And don’t forget to floss.
This is, as they say, not his first rodeo. See also the other books from Joshia Ferris.
You can read more book reviews or buy To Rise Again At A Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris at Amazon.com.
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