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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For nearly a decade author Joe Connelly rushed from emergency to emergency as a paramedic in the Hell's Kitchen area of New York City. This is the novel he wrote to purge, perhaps redeem, the torment of his experiences in the trenches with the dying and the barely living. Connelly seems to be a born writer, for this first novel makes brilliant use of unflinching realism, dark and brittle humor, a faint whiff of the supernatural, and, above all, the poignancy of a human soul that chooses slow self-destruction rather than shutting itself off to the suffering of others. As Patrick McGrath--another writer of dark literary fiction--writes, "The author's vision is both bleak and compassionate; his control of his explosive material is masterly. This is strong stuff, full of heart, engaging, harrowing, and real." You won't be able to let this one out of your sight until you've finished reading it, and it will linger long after you've put it down. --Fiona WebsterFrom the Back Cover:
Bringing Out The Dead
"A stunning first novel."--New York Times Book Review
"Written with a richness and a closeness to the world it describes that makes it a powerful achievement."--Washington Post
"A knockdown, spectacular first novel . . . Its feverish quality convincingly mirrors the frenetic pace of a medic's shift, while the writing is marked both by startling, inventive depictions and a searing succinctness."--GQ
"It does for ambulances what the movie Taxi Driver did for yellow cabs. Once you've read it, the emergency vehicle in your rearview mirror will appear more sinister yet more human than ever before."--Newsday
"Joe Connelly's Bringing Out the Dead is a work of the literary art that charts with compelling power the unraveling of a young man, a paramedic, who nightly has to handle the most desperate and extreme human disasters in Manhattan: the Hell's Kitchen casualties. The author's vision is both bleak and compassionate; his control of his explosive material is masterly. This is strong stuff, full of heart, engaging, harrowing, and real."--Patrick McGrath
"Martin Scorcese is adapting Bringing Out the Dead, but if you're smart you won't wait for the film."--Details
"In Bringing Out the Dead Joe Connelly takes us on an adrenaline-fueled ride through the Hell's Kitchen night. It's a dark, brilliant look into both his protagonist's heart and the eyes of men and women on the front lines of urban America. You'll weep, you'll laugh, but most important, you'll read on. Bringing Out the Dead is an outstanding debut novel."--Thomas Kelly
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Book Description Knopf, 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition... Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. (New York), 1998. First edition, first printing. Hardbound. Source for the movie of the same name. New/New. A tight unread copy of the author's first novel. Smoke-free. With mylar dust cover. Bookseller Inventory # 7513
Book Description Knopf, 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 1st. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0375400400
Book Description Knopf, 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0375400400
Book Description Knopf, 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110375400400