To Rise Again at a Decent Hour
by Joshua Ferris
2014 / 339 pages
rating 8 / cont fiction
Paul O’Rourke, a Manhattan dentist, and mostly atheist, is in love with his receptionist, a young woman from a family of orthodox Jews. One day O’Rourke finds he has a very nice web-site put up by some anonymous person. It’s a nice site except for an inner page on which O’Rourke supposedly says strange, perhaps anti-semitic things – there are stories there of how the Jews of ancient times conducted a genocide on another tribe.
The theme, or central idea is existential, the meaning of life and the nature of truth. LOL! And on a less esoteric level it’s about loneliness, the need to belong, history, Wikipedia, baseball and losers.
Although the novel is a very funny satire using iPhones and dentists as subjects, and although Ferris is a wonderful writer, I was bored probably because nothing really happens.
And a really annoying thing to me is that this book was short-listed for the Man Booker prize, one of the first two US novels to make the shortlist. And it’s so stupid the feeling is set-up. See An Unnecessary Woman and The Blazing World.