To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris
Paul O’Rourke is a dentist, a Red Sox fan, and confused, in that order. His identity’s been stolen – but not by your average hacker. He’s been duplicated online as a mystic and part of an obscure sect.
Paul is a nice boy with a very well-regulated routine, a lovely ex-girlfriend who works for him, and a successful practice. He isn’t looking for more complication in his life. He barely tolerates technology – but then one day discovers that a website has been created for his practice. The website begins to change daily, posting religious quotations from obscure texts. Paul researches, complains, threatens lawsuits, but to no avail. Someone somewhere is pretending to be him and saying some very curious things…then that person begins to tweet. Paul starts receiving e-mails from unlikely places, and then things begin to get wilder.
Paul embarks on a journey questioning everything he thought he knew, the relationships he has with those around him, and ultimately, himself and his place in the world. Along the way, he meets some true characters – the billionaire who can’t stop looking for God, a curio dealer who knows everything, a hygienist who is a moral compass, and several people who really ought to floss more.
Although religion and identity theft don’t sound like they make for light reading, under Ferris’ deft touch, the absurdity in the situations he creates does ultimately lead to laughter. I found this book amusing, a great read for traveling. The characters are cheerfully drawn, the action is mainly conversation-driven, and there are no off-puttingly preachy moments.
Order in Bibz.