Bringing Out the Dead

ISBN-10: 0375700293

ISBN-13: 9780375700293

Edition: N/A

Authors: Joe Connelly

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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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Book details

List price: $16.95
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 3/30/1999
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 336
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.638
Language: English

Connelly grew up in a working-class family in Warwick, New York. He dropped out of Colgate University and, before publishing his first novel, worked as a paramedic at St. Clare's Hospital in Hell's Kitchen, New York City, for about a decade. He wrote in his spare time over that period, in a small flat in the Upper West Side and while living abroad in Ireland and travelling in Eastern Europe for a considerable period. During this period Connelly was encouraged by a creative writing professor at Columbia University. Bringing Out the Dead (1998) is autobiographical in nature and follows the story of a paranoid, hollow-eyed paramedic who works the graveyard shift in Hell's Kitchen. Having seen so much human suffering on the job, the main character of the book, Frank, has turned emotionally into himself, despondent to the point of becoming a drunk, his life a personal living hell. Bringing Out the Dead was an immediate bestseller on publication. It was soon optioned for $100,000 and eventually made its way to production as a major motion picture of the same name in 1999. Bringing Out the Dead was directed by filmmaker Martin Scorsese and the screenplay was adapted by Paul Schrader. Though the film was a critical success, it fell short of box office expectations. His second novel was Crumbtown in 2004.

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