Bringing Out the Dead, by Joe Connelly

Let me make it clear that this is not a movie review; in fact, I haven't seen the movie. (Well, I hadn't when I wrote this review back in 2003, but I did see it about seven years later on TV.) But I did picture it in my head as a movie (with Nicholas Cage, indeed) all the time I was reading it. In fact, this is an almost autobiographical novel, and the author, from his picture on the back, looks enough like Nicholas Cage to make it all plausible. The writing is in some ways very cinematographic, but I doubt that quite all the inner action - the fantasies, hallucinations, bizarre metaphors for the way the first-person narrator/protagonist was feeling - would have been portrayed in the film.
I found this book to be like the bastard son of The Crying of Lot 49 (the mother) and Naked Lunch (the father). Which is high praise, coming from me. Yet the romantic in me, the old-fashioned romantic who shouldn't like Burroughs and Pynchon as much as I do, wanted Frank to get the girl. And I almost didn't care which girl, whether it was Mona (recently departed wife) or Mary (ex-junkie daughter of the man who takes the whole book to die from a heart-attack) or even Rose (deceased asthma patient who haunts Frank's night-shift days.) But, you know, he didn't. Or maybe he did.

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