Joshua Ferris Takes on All Kinds of Decay in His Ambitious New Novel
‘To Rise Again at a Decent Hour’ wrestles with faith, community, baseball, and what it means to refuse to fill your cavities
The novelist Joshua Ferris made a splash in 2007 with his debut Then We Came to the End. The critically acclaimed book was a hilarious, biting satire about employees in a collapsing ad agency in Chicago at the end of the dot-com era. Ferris followed it up in 2010 with The Unnamed, a somewhat darker novel about a Manhattan lawyer who just wants to be walking; it’s an urge he cannot resist, and it undoes his life.
Now Ferris is out with a new novel, To Rise Again at a Decent Hour. With the help of a somewhat petulant, loner dentist the book takes on existential dread, what it means to be a Jew, and Red Sox fandom in a mix of the absurd, the droll, and the profound. Ferris joins Vox Tablet host Sara Ivry to discuss what compels him about belonging to a faith community, what kind of research—biblical and medical—he had to undertake to write his novel, and why he envies the Jews.
Screening this week on TCM, Elia Kazan’s film is a remarkable document of a vanished era of American Jewish life