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To Rise Again at a Decent Hour

3.08  ·  Rating details ·  14,353 ratings  ·  2,311 reviews
A big, brilliant, profoundly observed novel about the mysteries of modern life by National Book Award Finalist Joshua Ferris, one of the most exciting voices of his generation

Paul O'Rourke is a man made of contradictions: he loves the world, but doesn't know how to live in it. He's a Luddite addicted to his iPhone, a dentist with a nicotine habit, a rabid Red Sox fan devas
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published May 13th 2014 by Little, Brown and Company
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Average rating 3.08  · 
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 ·  14,353 ratings  ·  2,311 reviews

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Jessica Jeffers
Jun 16, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
If nothing else, this book will make you feel like you need to floss immediately.
Keith Rosson
Feb 18, 2014 rated it liked it
To be clear, I won this mofo in a Goodreads giveaway.

I loved Ferris's previous two novels and eagerly hit this one. Said eagerness quickly gave way to a stolid kind of admiration and a decent amount of fatigue. Other reviewers will undoubtedly provide a detailed synopsis of the plot, so I'll just say that Ferris's strengths are fully on display here, but it's also a book that requires a certain level, shall we say, of commitment. It's a seriously dense novel.

His dialogue is just flat-out singi
Ron Charles
Jan 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Joshua Ferris’s new novel is about a dentist, and like a good dentist, Ferris welcomes us in with a few jokes and some distracting chitchat. By the time we realize what we’re in for, we’re flat on our backs, staring wildly at our own reflection in the goggles of a person we’re not sure we should trust.

If you’re afraid of dentists or demanding fiction, back away because “To Rise Again at a Decent Hour” is a brilliant mess of a novel that drills at a raw nerve of existential dread. It’s a deceptiv
Paul Bryant
Apr 16, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned, novels, bookers
Number of times I laughed up to page 50 : 0

Number of times I chortled up to page 50 : 0

Number of times I grinned broadly up to page 50 : 0

Number of times I smiled quietly up to page 50 : 0

Number of times I very slightly smirked up to page 50 : 0

Number of times I thought that Philip Roth, David Foster Wallace, Nicholson Baker and a couple of others whose names escape me could do this sort of angsty white middle class monologuing nitpicking mournful modern-life-is-rubbish thing a whole lot better
Barry Pierce
I have literally no idea why this is even longlisted. The first 50ish pages were alright. That was it. The main character seemed like an interesting guy at the start before all the arduous religious stuff. In many ways this felt like a Coen brother's film but that is a massive insult to the Coens. I'm not angry with this book, I'm just disappointed. It could have been brilliant but it really wasn't. It was boring. And that's the worst possible thing a book could be. ...more
Mar 11, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
Warning: This review is not grammatically correct. It is also rambling and incoherent...much like this book was.

Though expertly performed by Campbell Scott, listening to this audio became almost painful. What began as an entertaining character study of an enigmatic, lonely, brilliant, successful, depressed, nerdy, misunderstood, death-obsessed, atheist, Red Sox fanatic and dentist, who was also addicted to yet repulsed by technology, quickly devolved into what was akin to listening to the inner
Feb 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
Disclaimer: I won this book in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour is not a bad book; it just appears to have been written for an audience so specific that I'm not sure it really even exists. As the cover art suggests, it combines a mishmash of topics: baseball, Judaism, and dentistry, primarily. But while there's some logic to how all of these things fit together, they never quite add up to a cohesive whole. The synopsis purports that it is the story of a man who is
Apr 08, 2014 rated it did not like it
I really tried to finish reading this book- struggled through 180 pages and could go no further. The real "killer" for me was the seemingly endless ridiculous dissertations, seemingly from the Bible, to the main character from an unknown being who had stolen his identity on the internet.description on the back cover and the first pages seemed interesting but it went quickly downhill from there. ...more
Dec 28, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dweeby dentists, baseball fans
Shelves: usa
Paul finds all significance draining from his life, leaving a gaping hollow that nothing can fill, not even his obsessive and highly ritualised love of the Red Sox. When he looks around, he sees that other people tend to be grounded in communities: family, religion, whatever. Paul would very much like to belong too. Perfection would be to be an atheist Jew: that sense of belonging, but without the effort of imagining a supernatural being in the sky. Paul reaches contentment when he stops wanting ...more
Mar 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Received this book as a First Reads giveaway and it absolutely blew me away! What rock have I been under that this is the first time I've heard of Joshua Ferris? His books are now on my to-read list.

The main character in this novel is Dr. Paul O'Rourke, DDS. Paul is a walking bundle of anxiety looking for answers to some very primal questions. He has no family to speak of, so continually tries to attach himself to people with what appear to be happy home lives, even if he has nothing in common w
Jan 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: booker-2014
I can't really articulate how I feel about this book. I didn't like it from the get-go, but it grew on me. I skimmed over chunks of it that were too dense and convoluted to keep my interest (all of the Amalekite/Ulm stuff - good grief). I still am not entirely sure what this book was ultimately all about. I think it's basically an unstable man's search for meaning in life with a lot of satire and dark comedy, twists and turns, and rabbit holes to fall into.

Alternately funny, weird, confusing, fr
switterbug (Betsey)
Apr 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A confirmed atheist who seeks a religious family to latch onto, a Red Sox fan who embraced them most when they were failures, a middle-aged man who feels self conscious saying “Good morning”--Paul O’Rourke is a depressed, lonely, but exceptionally fine dentist who suffers from a lifelong existential crisis, searching, but disconnected. Perhaps seeking the apt aphorism.

“Everything was always something, but something—and here was the rub—could never be anything.”

Paul’s Jewish ex-girlfriend, Conni
“Things Could Be Worse And Things Could Be So Much Better.” Dr. Paul O’Rourke’s motto could be the shorthand for a whole subgenre of contemporary American fiction centering on middle-aged male malaise. O’Rourke, the dentist antihero of Ferris’s third novel, has many good reasons to feel depressed: his father committed suicide and his mother languishes with dementia in a care home; he has chronic insomnia; he resents his utter reliance on technology; and his ex-girlfriend and office manager, Conn ...more
May 25, 2014 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Affluent middle-aged men wallowing in self pity
If you enjoy novels about beleaguered middle-aged men, you may be the target audience for To Rise Again. Personally, as a 20-something woman, I have little in common with them: no private law (or chiropractic or psychology) practice, no receding hairline, no misunderstanding mother-in-law. Their problems are not mine and I can not muster sympathy for them.

My predisposition to disliking protagonists of Paul’s type no doubt left me negatively biased about the book. Nevertheless, I do feel there we
May 18, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: literary-misc
2 stars - Meh. Just ok.

Started out funny with heavy sarcastic overtones, but quickly became boring. I was expecting this one to be a controversial read that explored modern technology and social networking issues similar to what Eggers did in The Circle, but that never quite came to fruition. Instead this one was very theological, sports centric, dry and quite slow. It was weird and original but unfortunately, that did not equate to enjoyable.


Favorite Quote: I was a
Feb 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book on Goodreads. I really enjoyed this book -- primarily for the writing. The main character Ferris created was pitch perfect in his cringe making self delusions and sincerity. His inner musings were at times brilliant. It is quite a feat to make a dentist into such an interesting, poignant and irritating character. These aspects of Ferris' book more than made up for the fact that at times I found the religious struggle in the book unnecessary and uninteresting. I plan to go out and ...more
Ferris, as you might be able to tell from the title, is all about religion in this novel. His main character, Paul C. O’Rourke, is a dentist—a dentist with a taste for the absurd. He is funny, especially when he is trying not to be. His practice in New York City keeps him crazy busy, so he allows himself only a few indulgences. He is a Red Sox fan in New York, which means he must watch every game (except the 6th inning), taping them to watch later if he has something else on his schedule. The ri ...more
May 13, 2014 rated it liked it
I held great anticipation for this novel and I found myself not quite disappointed more along the lines of subtly let down.

Meet Paul O’Rouke, a NY dentist, unsure of God, a full blown Boston Red Sox fanatic and an internet skeptic. He discovers his online identity stolen which snowballs into Paul questioning his beliefs leading to a existential crisis in a queer manner. Much about himself is discovered on his soul searching sojourn. Bizarre, funny, sensitive and brilliant.

Woody Allen continually

"... bookmarking and posting and tweeting all those things, and feeling more disconnected than ever? Where does this idea of greater connection come from? I've never in my life felt more disconnected. It's like how the rich get richer. The connected get more connected while the disconnected get more disconnected. No thanks, man, I can't do it. The world was a sufficient trial, Betsy, before Facebook."
Jan 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Meet Paul C. O’Rourke, DDS. During the day, his instrument of choice is the drill. (“It was one big mouth to me – one big open, straining, gleeking, unhappy, discomfited, slowly decaying mouth.”) Yet during more ruminative times, he continues to drill within himself, seeking the answers to how to move forward in a meaningless world filled with decay.

And then one day, his existential search for meaning shifts into a whole other dimension when a mysterious stranger hijacks his identity on the Inte
Oct 10, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
While parts of this book were wry and funny, and the penultimate chapter from which the book draws its name is a perfect set piece, a paean to loneliness in New York that is heartbreakingly lovely, I found the whole religious subplot boring and irksome.

While ostensibly about the Amelikites and the Ulms, the book is really a long meditation on Jewishness - it's all about people who want to be Jews and can't be, what it means to be an outsider looking in on what looks warm, familial and comfortin
Jay Shelat
Jan 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
First: I got this book as an ARC, and I'm grateful. Okay, so the first thing I must say about this book is: Wow. Joshua Ferris is one of my favorite authors. He's a brilliant voice in contemporary American literature, and I wish more people gave him a chance.

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour is Ferris' most complex work for two reasons: the unreliable narration and the heavy themes. Let me be frank: Paul O'Rourke is a jerk. He's not a good guy; he's not friendly, and he's a hypocrite (smoker denti
Elliot Chalom
Feb 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
Disclaimer: I won this book in Goodreads First Reads giveaway. I entered the giveaway because I read both of Joshua Ferris' prior novels, Then We Came to the End: A Novel, which I really enjoyed, and The Unnamed, which I very much did not. Hoping this was more the former than the latter, I gave Ferris another chance. Not again.

I believed that this novel would be more like Then We Came to the End: A Novel because that book took place in an office and was your typical workplace comedy. It was smar
Ravi Gangwani
The mouth is a weird place. Not quite inside and not quite out. Not skin and not organ. It is dark, wet, admitting. It is the access to an interior. It is the place where cancer starts, where the heart is broken. But what is the problem is taking care of this mouth. In the end, the heart stops, the cells die, the neurons go dark, bacteria will consumes the pancreas, flies lay their egg, the skin turn into cottage cheese, the bone dissolves, and finally teeth will float away with tide.
So that was
Elyse  Walters
This is Joshua Ferris's 3rd novel. Absolutely his most accomplished and most complex.

Chapter One 'is' page-turning addicting. I recognized the similar feeling of humor from 'Ferris's writing as I did in his other two books.
We meet:
Our Cynic anti-social dentist --Red Sox Fan, (devotee), and the office crew. The development of the story -and the characters are brilliant in this chapter. Lots of hand lotion users. (very funny)

As the story continues --it takes more work to understand where is Jos
Vanessa / Little Gold Pixel
Jan 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: loved-it
I just finished this book 20 minutes ago, and I'll probably be thinking about it for the next week. In other words, I'm still collecting my thoughts on it.

Wit and beautiful prose aside (Joshua Ferris can write a sentence. In fact, he can write paragraphs upon paragraphs about the act of putting on lotion, and he makes it interesting), there is a lot to chew on here. Religion and faith and happiness and torture and depression and obsession.

Paul O'Rourke is an atheist dentist who cannot fathom a g
Scott Rhee
Sep 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
I feel a strange kinship with Paul O’Rourke, the protagonist of Joshua Ferris’s novel “To Rise Again At A Decent Hour”, despite the fact that he is a dentist.

(Quick aside: Normally I adhere to a pretty strict anti-hate philosophy. There’s enough hate in the world, and I generally try to follow the Christian tenet of “love thy neighbor”. That said, I have an irrational hatred of dentists. It’s the same irrational hatred I have for Tea Party Republicans and middle management. It’s a hatred based
Paul Fulcher
Sep 15, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2014, booker-2014
Book 4/6 from the Booker shortlist (in order of reading - I strongly suspect 6th in order of merit).

My non Goodreads posting but equally profilically reading identical twin brother sent me a one word review "Why?".

There are lots of why's here - why did I waste my time reading it? why did trees have to die for the paper on which it is printed? - but most importantly, why is it on the Booker shortlist?

On the last point I am beginning to realise that to these judges, a good book needs only to have
Jul 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
Who is Paul Conrad O'Rourke?  

Let's start off with the basics. A dentist by practice who is cynical about technology and people with their 'me-machines' (what he calls phones) and  the world we live in.  A completely devoted, sometimes maniacal Boston Red Sox fan that lives in New York City (for those that know the intense rivalry and the amazing 2004 series, high five!). An atheist by belief, but a learned intellectual about most religions and their need for God or a god.  A man who up to this
Tom LA
Oct 25, 2016 rated it it was ok
I've always wondered what is the point of writing fiction about cynical, negative, pessimistic characters, as ends to themselves, when no real resolution or progress towards a healthier state of being is offered. Yes sure you can do that as a writer, but behind the excuse "This is a character study" there is always something else, something personal, especially behind the many sarcastic comments about other people's choices.

Behind the fiction of the damaged dentist, this book really reads like
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Joshua Ferris is the author of novels Then We Came to the End, The Unnamed and To Rise Again at a Decent Hour as well as a story collection, The Dinner Party. He has been a finalist for the National Book Award, winner of the Barnes and Noble Discover Award and the PEN/Hemingway Award, short-listed for the Man Booker Prize, and winner of the International Dylan Thomas Prize. He was named one of The ...more

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