Bringing Out the Dead

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 1999-10-01
  • Publisher: Vintage Books

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Perhaps only someone who has worked for a decade as a paramedic in Hell's Kitchen -- as Joe Connelly has -- could write a novel as rivetting and fiercely authentic as "Bringing Out The Dead." Like a reporter at the front, Connelly writes from deep inside the experience, and the result is electrifying.

In Frank Pierce, an EMS medic, Connelly gives us a man who is being destroyed by the job of saving people's lives. Addicted to the thrill ("the best drug in the world"), the adventure, and the mission of it, after five years Frank is nevertheless drowning in accumulated grief and guilt: his own and others' ("I grew to understand that my primary role was less about saving lives than about bearing witness"). His wife has left him, he's drinking too much and on the job, and just a month ago, he "helped to kill" Rose, an 18-year-old suffering from asthma. Now Rose won't let him be: he sees her everywhere, she's the waking nightmare of all his failures, both hallucination and projection, yet as real to him as his most intimate thoughts. And it's perhaps in reaction t

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