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  • List Price: $16.95
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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all it's still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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Bringing Out the Dead Paperback – March 30, 1999

4.4 out of 5 stars 88 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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 Webster --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

As depicted in this strong and literate debut, burnt-out paramedic Frank Pierce spends dark, death-filled nights behind the wheel of an ambulance in Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen, where he grew up, fighting chaos in his soul as perverse as the mayhem surrounding him. Scarred by a failed marriage and worn down by the hopelessness of his daily rounds of heart attacks, overdoses and crazies seeking attention, Frank has brought his drinking habit onto the job. But he is unable to blot out the memory of Rose, a young asthmatic who died in his care and now appears to him on various street corners. The ghosts of his own past?his unhappy parents and ex-wife, his childhood playmates, now drunks and druggies?and the death of his aspirations appear to him at every turn in the neighborhood.. When Patrick Burke, a cardiac-arrest victim unwillingly on life support, begins to haunt him, too, Frank struggles to find some sanity in a harmful job he seems unable to quit. Connelly brings an air of authenticity to his rendering of this marginal world, and his compassion for its miserable and impoverished denizens is almost palpable. He deftly renders the frantic but deadpan tension and the black humor of a paramedic's job and of the ER personnel in Our Lady of Mercy hospital, called Misery by everyone. If Frank's voice, plangent with exhaustion, despair and grief, and the circumstances of his disintegrating life are unremittingly depressing, one does not doubt the accuracy of the world that Connelly, who himself was a paramedic, creates with such bleak intensity. 50,000 first printing; Random House audio. (Feb.) FYI: Bringing Out the Dead has been optioned by Martin Scorsese.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.
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The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 322 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (March 30, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375700293
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375700293
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #848,730 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Knowing the author, and myself a nine year N.Y.C. medic understand that neither himself nor any real N.Y.C. medic would ever 'tune-up a patient', but the subconscious mind takes over on an overnight shift and at times you have done it all in your mind - including visualizing your fist to the face of the patient who is on slow autopilot suicide. You know their endgame, loathe them for using your ambulance to play it out in and, in the not so deep recess, want to aid them in that endgame. Joe puts it all together save the love that we all hope Frank is redeemed with. Read it, see Marty's movie and remember us when we force you through a red light into oncoming traffic and you initially want to strangle us. Know we may have someone you love in the back. Despite what Rudy thinks, N.Y.C will still get ya if you don't watch your back. If so, we'll be there.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Working in emergency rooms as a nurse for over 20 years led me to consider this book. I usually do not care to read true life ER type books..why do I want to read about what I see day in and day out? But, this is a novel which just so happens to be as authentic as it can be without being some ER person's diary. The frame of reference is factual. The addition of fiction is perfect and original. Finally a story that reflects the sacrifices many of us encounter, perhaps not to such extremes, but sacrifices none the less. In such a story, Joe Connelly literally demonstrates all those people "lost" in the hands of emergency personnel, and the realization that in our minds we carry them around with us always, ever reconstructing events, pondering what-ifs, and finally having to give up the ghost..even taking their spirits to bed with us so we can at last get some rest. A brilliant, gutsy novel.
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By A Customer on November 10, 1999
Format: Paperback
An interesting novel about a burnt-out paramedic suffering from guilt caused by botching up on saving an asthmatic girl's life. His idealism shot long ago, he is riding an ambulance through hell (Hell's Kitchen, New York) with the disillusionment that the job is more about bearing witness than saving lives. Beware, though. The book really has no plot. It never seems to build up to a climax or anything for that matter, but this is the type of book you have to read because it effectively immerses you in the life (or death) of a stressed-out paramedic. It is a journey, like you're riding side by side with Frank as he tries to understand not only what his job is all about, but what life and death really mean. The movie is an excellent adaptation of the book by Martin Scorsese with an appropriate soundtrack.
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Format: Hardcover
Every once in a while, a book comes along that will live in your head forever. This is one of them.
Joe Connelly, like a deranged circus ringmaster, trots out one insanity after another and makes them dance. There's Noel, the suicidal/obsessive-compulsive who is delighted at the prospect of being killed in the hospital. There's the unidentified woman who calls 911 for her husband's cardiac arrest, when in reality, the man just needed an extended amount of time on the john. And there's Mr. Oh, one of Our Lady of Mercy's "regulars", who's simply drunk and hungry more often then not.
But make no mistake, the medics are insane too. That's the point, EVERYONE is insane. There's Tom, who would just as soon beat someone up as take them to the hospital. There's Marcus, the born-again Christian who will only do three jobs a night. There's Larry, who's grossly overweight and takes pictures of particularly gruesome scenes for his "DOA scrapbook." And there's Our Hero, Frank Pierce, who may or may not be hallucinating, sometimes comes to work drunk, and gets into arguments with his boss because his boss won't fire him.
Frank is a man who has given up everything for his job because he genuinely loves it. More than once he calls saving lives the greatest thing he will ever do, and we believe him. It is only recently, when the job stops giving him what he needs and he finds that he has little more to give back, that the rush has started to fade. And fade it does, right out of existence.
Frank talks about his job much as frequent targets of domestic abuse talk about their spouses; lovingly, but with more than a touch of fear, anger, and weariness. In fact, at it's core, "Bringing Out the Dead" is more about weariness than anything else.
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Format: Paperback
I believe I read this book just before seeing the movie starring Nicholas Cage and John Goodman. At the time, I was studying to become a paramedic, so the topic interested me.
I loved this book, and read it in one sitting. I know paramedics are constantly asked, "What's the worst thing you've ever seen?" and my favorite line in the book is Frank's response to that question, "Lima beans on a pizza."
I think that just about sums it up. Not everyone will love this book, but I sure enjoyed it.
Two defibrillators up!
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Format: Paperback
Bringing Out The Dead has catapulted Joe Connelly into elite company with the likes of Larry Brown(Dirty Work, Joe, On Fire, Facing The Music, Big Bad Love & Father and Son). Given that I consider Brown the best thing going, that's saying an awful lot. Connelly's debut effortlessly and masterfully blends stark realism with dreamlike surrealism. The effect is stunning. They say you should write about what you know...Connelly was a paramedic in The Big Apple for nine years. He has written about a profession that few of us know much about without getting too technical. He gives us the humor and horror in layman's terms. BOTD is a novel about an heroic profession, and yet there are no tangible heros here. The inner demons of the main character(Frank) surface to open up an ethical and philosophical can of worms. This is a dark and ugly story that has been written with absolute beauty. Pure poetry spills from the veins of some of the most horrendous situations you will ever encounter. I can't compare it to the movie because I always read the books first. The descriptions are so captivating and vivid that I don't really see the point in watching the movie...I've already seen one, raw and uncut. Joe Connelly's second book will be in my home the day it hits the stores. If you're looking for heros, then go buy a comic book. If you're looking for a gritty, realistic portrayal of hell on earth to allow you a temporary escape from your own woes, then you're on the right track. This is an excellent debut that most authors couldn't rival after a lifetime of writing.
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