Arts & Culture
4:06 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Dentist Goes into Deep Thought, Inspired by the Problems his Patients Face

Do you ever overthink? Paul, a dentist, thinks about life's simplest and deepest questions while working on his patients.
Do you ever overthink? Paul, a dentist, thinks about life's simplest and deepest questions while working on his patients.
Credit Boswell Books

There are a lot of human inventions, like philosophy and religion  that attempt to answer the big questions: Why are we here?  Do we have a purpose?  Why are we so unhappy so much of the time?  What does it mean to be a Boston Red Sox fan when they actually win the World Series?  And do we have the capacity to change?

Writer Joshua Ferris manages to take on all of these questions in his new novel, To Rise Again at a Decent HourHis protagonist, Paul, agonizes over all of these existential issues as he cares for the mouths of his Park Avenue dentistry patients.

"One guy’s got cancer, one guy won’t floss, the other guy has a cavity that he won’t take care of.  So these people continually keep him on notice that the march of time is working, always," says Ferris.