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Every Open Mouth a Grave

Thomas Jones: Joshua Ferris, 21 August 2014

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour 
by Joshua Ferris.
Viking, 337 pp., £16.99, May 2014, 978 0 670 91773 0
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... The narrator​ of Joshua Ferris’s new novel is a rich, white, garrulous, sexist, misanthropic New Yorker with a troubled childhood, now in early middle age, wondering what the point of it all is. But Paul O’Rourke has one redeeming feature: he’s a dentist. Which means that rather than pondering the mysteries of the universe and his place in it while staring into space, he instead thinks about the meaning of life, or more often the lack of it, as he’s peering into the brightly lit mouths of his patients: My last patient of the day was a five-year-old complaining of a loose tooth ...

Walk Spanish

Christopher Tayler: Joshua Ferris, 19 July 2007

Then We Came to the End 
by Joshua Ferris.
Viking, 387 pp., £14.99, April 2007, 978 0 670 91655 9
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... awkwardness of reporting them in the first person plural, are one of the main sources of comedy in Joshua Ferris’s novel. ‘Everyone loved Benny,’ the voice says, ‘which was why some of us hated his guts.’ Then there’s Karen Woo: ‘Did we dislike her because we were racists, because we were misogynists, because her “initiative” rankled and ...

Rescue us, writer

Christian Lorentzen: George Saunders, 7 February 2013

Tenth of December 
by George Saunders.
Bloomsbury, 251 pp., £14.99, January 2013, 978 1 4088 3734 4
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... disrupts domestic tranquillity or workplace banality; leave it to Alice Munro, Lorrie Moore or Joshua Ferris. The disease is out of place in Saunders’s skewed world. His stories are more satisfying when his characters’ good intentions bring about their undoing. Something of the sort happens in ‘Escape from Spiderhead’, set in a drug-testing ...

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