The Takeaway Book Club: 'To Rise Again at a Decent Hour' by Joshua Ferris

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Takeaway Book Club's first pick is "To Rise Again at a Decent Hour." It's the darkly comic tale of Paul C. O'Rourke, a New York dentist with a thriving practice, a nice apartment, plenty of money, and a deep sense of disaffection.

What's missing from Paul's life is love and connection—and not just of the romantic variety. He craves a deeper sense of meaning and belonging.

Paul identifies as an atheist, but he's curious about religion, and has made a habit of exploring it by immersing himself in the families of the women he dates—an approach neither his Jewish ex-girlfriend nor the Catholic ex-girlfriend before that were particularly charmed by.

When it comes to faith, the closest thing Paul's really got is his loyalty to the perpetually underdog Boston Red Sox.

Then one day, someone inexplicably starts impersonating Paul online through a website, through a Twitter account and a Facebook page all created in his name. Paul is irked but then intrigued, too. Who is this "other" Paul C. O'Rourke, and what is he trying to tell him? Paul's attempts to put an end to the strange act of identity theft soon evolve into a weird journey of religious discovery.

Book club members Tim Sands, Max Wall, and John Lohuis of the Portland Gentleman's Club found they all related to Paul's desire to be part of something larger than himself—even while they cringed at Paul's phenomenally anti-social tendencies.  

Want to get involved? Read along with us and text the word BOOKCLUB to 69866 to submit your feedback on our book choices. Sign up your own book club for a discussion with John Hockenberry here.

John Lohuis (L), Tim Sands (Center), Max Wall (R ).
John Lohuis (L), Tim Sands (Center), Max Wall (R ).

Produced by:

Allie Ferguson, Arwa Gunja and Mythili Rao


T.J. Raphael

Comments [5]

Laurie C from Colton, Oregon

The Portland Book Club sounds a lot more interesting than the book they chose this time. Yet another book on a self-obsessive male overthinking the mundane and feel it incumbent upon him to bore us with his musings? I'll pass on that one. I do like the club though and will look forward to other books, whiskey, and hats next time.

Jun. 11 2014 12:58 PM
Jenn Oramous from Rowlett, TX

Wow! Just finished. I loved it. All the self dialogue and musings on what other ppl tonight but never asking them...I so get that!! Trying to find where you fit in...who is not able to relate to that. The religious part was secondary to me. A way to prove the point, I didn't find it tedious if anything it was funny. Overall, great book and will be reading this author again!

Jun. 03 2014 09:41 PM

Though I finished the book a couple of weeks ago, I am still mulling over my thoughts and opinions. There were parts I loved about the book: the one sided conversations regarding religion with his very Catholic employee being one example. However there were parts I strongly disliked: his frequent use of the "c" word being the best example. And finally, parts that I was ambivalent about. The religious history is one such area as it was convoluted and bordered on confusing. However as the character was one I could truly relate to, and it had so many thought-provoking points and questions, that overall I found the book very compelling.

Jun. 03 2014 10:01 AM
Adam from Chapter 2

Never joined a book club before, and for some reason I went out and bought this book. Sure enough, the main guy is a dentist. My wife's brothers, father and his father were dentists. This should be good. Oh and, since I'ma slow reader, is there another page or thread with a more book clubian format?

May. 21 2014 12:48 AM
Beverly Isenstein from Manhattan

Look forward to reading this book

May. 17 2014 01:13 PM

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