Thursday, September 25, 2014

Book Review: To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris

A health professional wanders the landscape of modern life and ancient religion, unable to fit in yet unable to be at peace with not fitting in. It sounds like Walker Percy but it's Joshua Ferris. This book combines multiple fascinating elements: a clever plot-driver involving identity theft (both today and yesterday), an ancient religion founded on doubt and contrasted with Judaism, a science-type struggling with life and faith (in Percy he's a doctor, but here he's a dentist), New York City, and even baseball. It's very funny and sad in alternating and simultaneous moments. It's just plain well-done. I don't think the ultimate resolution is all that satisfying (nor do I think it's supposed to be) and the main character is a little too cartoonish to be completely convincing. That's where Percy has one up on Ferris. Still, this is like the second-best phad thai in town -- it's still very good. But if you're allergic to one of the elements listed above, you may want to pass on this dish.

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