Bringing Out the Dead

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Bringing Out the Dead

Format:  Paperback,

271 pages

Publisher: Random House Inc

Publish Date: Mar 1999

ISBN-13: 9780375700293

ISBN-10: 0375700293

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Book Information

The following content was provided by the publisher.
Perhaps only someone who has worked for almost a decade as a medic in New York City's Hell's Kitchen--as Joe Connelly has--could write a novel as riveting and fiercely authentic as Bringing Out the Dead. Like a front-line reporter, Connelly writes from deep within the experience, and the result is a debut novel of extraordinary power and intensity.
In Frank Pierce, a brash EMS medic working the streets of Hell's Kitchen, Connelly gives us a man who is being destroyed by the act of saving people. Addicted to the thrill ("the best drug in the world") and the mission of the job, Frank is nevertheless drowning in five years' worth of grief and guilt--his own and others': "my primary role was less about saving lives than about bearing witness." His wife has left him, he's drinking on the job, and just a month ago he "helped to kill" an eighteen-year-old asthmatic girl. Now she's become the waking nightmare of all his failures: hallucination and projection ("the ghosts that once visited my dreams had followed me out to the street and were now talking back"), and as real to him as his own skin. And in reaction to her death, Frank has desperately resurrected a patient back into a life now little better than death.
In a narrative that moves with the furious energy of an ambulance run, we follow Frank through two days and nights: into the excitement and dread of the calls; the mad humor that keeps the medics afloat; the memories, distant and recent, through which Frank reminds himself why he became a medic and tries, in vain, to convince himself to give it up. And we are with him as he faces his newest ghost: the resurrected patient, whose demands to be released into death might be the most sensible thing Frank has heard in months, if only he would listen.
Bringing Out the Dead is a stunning novel.

Specifications

Author:
Publisher: Random House Inc
Publish Date: Mar 1999
ISBN-13: 9780375700293
ISBN-10: 0375700293
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 271
Shipping Weight (in pounds): 0.62
Product in Inches (L x W x H): 5.26 x 0.85 x 8.03

Reviews

Review by Library Journal (1998-04-15)

Campbell Scott offers a weak performance of this lifeless tale of a troubled paramedic haunted by the memories of patients who have died in his care. Connelly administers a heavy dose of nihilism by depicting Frank Pierce as a man trapped in a meaningless routine of saving the lives of New York City's hopeless cases who are destined to destroy themselves. Scott's melancholy tone compounds the listlessness of the story. His colorful characterizations of Pierce's ambulance partners and slick-talking inner-city inhabitants present a taste of life on the streets, but this can't make up for the program's overall weakness. Mark P. Tierney, Charles Cty. Pub. Schs., Waldorf, MD

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Library Journal (1997-10-01)

A Manhattan paramedic (like Connelly himself) is addicted to the thrill of rescue but increasingly haunted by one patient he couldn't save. Take note: This debut is getting a 50, 000-copy first printing.

Review by Library Journal (1998-01-01)

This dramatic debut novel follows the life of a young paramedic, Frank Pierce, who works in the desperate neighborhood of New York's Hell's Kitchen. In this fast-paced work, Frank and a variety of peculiar partners race from episode to episode in his ambulance, as the riveting course of events displays a sordid and, at times, absurd side to human injury and the people involved in saving lives. "Saving someone's life", remarks Frank, "is like falling in love, the best drug in the world". Ironically, as Frank frantically tries to capture this high every day, his personal life is left in shambles.

He is constantly haunted by a wrecked marriage and alcoholic visions of the people he couldn't save as his slim grasp of reality slowly diminishes. In addition to the narrative, each of these 19 thrilling chapters opens with a single insightful vignette that further highlights the unusual world of paramedics. Highly recommended for all collections; public libraries should purchase extra copies.

- David A. Beron, Univ. of New England, Biddleford, Me.

(c). Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Awards and Recognitions

  • New York Times Notable Books of the Year, 1998 (United States)

Book description

Perhaps only someone who has worked for almost a decade as a medic in New York City's Hell's Kitchen--as Joe Connelly has--could write a novel as riveting and fiercely authentic as Bringing Out the Dead. Like a front-line reporter, Connelly writes from deep within the experience, and the result is a debut novel of extraordinary power and intensity.

In Frank Pierce, a brash EMS medic working the streets of Hell's Kitchen, Connelly gives us a man who is being destroyed by the act of saving people. Addicted to the thrill ("the best drug in the world") and the mission of the job, Frank is nevertheless drowning in five years' worth of grief and guilt--his own and others': "my primary role was less about saving lives than about bearing witness." His wife has left him, he's drinking on the job, and just a month ago he "helped to kill" an eighteen-year-old asthmatic girl. Now she's become the waking nightmare of all his failures: hallucination and projection ("the ghosts that once visited my dreams had followed me out to the street and were now talking back"), and as real to him as his own skin. And in reaction to her death, Frank has desperately resurrected a patient back into a life now little better than death.

In a narrative that moves with the furious energy of an ambulance run, we follow Frank through two days and nights: into the excitement and dread of the calls; the mad humor that keeps the medics afloat; the memories, distant and recent, through which Frank reminds himself why he became a medic and tries, in vain, to convince himself to give it up. And we are with him as he faces his newest ghost: the resurrected patient, whose demands to be released into death might be the most sensible thing Frank has heard in months, if only he would listen.

Bringing Out the Dead is a stunning novel.

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