Bellevue

Bellevue

5.0 1
by Marc K. Siegel
     
 


Fast-paced, funny, tragic, and terrifyingly true-to-life, Bellevue is a darkly comic novel about interns coming of age in the chaotic hell of a big-city hospital. It is an astonishing tour de force, a kind of medical Catch-22.


In the city's vast, disintegrating Bellevue Hospital, young Dr. David Levy hopes to avoid being molded into

Overview


Fast-paced, funny, tragic, and terrifyingly true-to-life, Bellevue is a darkly comic novel about interns coming of age in the chaotic hell of a big-city hospital. It is an astonishing tour de force, a kind of medical Catch-22.


In the city's vast, disintegrating Bellevue Hospital, young Dr. David Levy hopes to avoid being molded into the same kind of doctor as his supervisor, Fat Goldman -- the symbol of all that is insane and uncaring about the medical establishment. Nor does Levy want to become like his best friend, the rebellious Sal Vertino. Although Sal was a star in medical school, his career may not survive his own doubts -- or his besotted pursuit of third-year student Delia Meducci, a smoldering beauty as ambitious and unscrupulous as she is sexy.


Through Levy's exhausted eyes, we experience the hellish pressure of urban medicine -- where interns test their vocation by means of extended sleepless shifts, and where denying one's own feelings and humanity is the only way to survive.


With hallucinatory scenes and sharply comic dialogue, Bellevue introduces a terrific cast of wild characters, including Rulo, an odd, wheelchair-roaming patient/philosopher; Larcombe, who is afflicted with every malady known to medicine; and Mrs. Ryan, who is mysteriously resuscitated -- though nobody knows why.


A portrait of a hospital as Dante's Inferno, Bellevue is at once funny and moving, a novel of life, love, death, passion, and -- rarest of all -- genuine originality.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Aspiring to but never attaining the sting of sharp satire, this first novel from a young doctor plunges into the chaotic world of New York City's famous public hospital. David Levy's first day as an intern gives him a picture of what his life is going to be like for the next year: always one inadvertent needle-prick away from AIDS, he'll be hounded by manipulative supervisors as he makes his rounds of the terminally ill and the socially victimized on a schedule that would make a Victorian factory owner blanch. Unfortunately, Siegel saddles David with an obsessive interest in Sal Vertino, a fellow intern who spends his time chasing Delia Meducci, a sexy and mysterious medical student. Also prowling the floors are the obnoxious Fat Goldman, a chain-smoking chief resident who'd rather be publishing his research on the erections of chimpanzees than baby-sitting interns, and the sinister attending physician Dr. Kell. David tags along behind Sal, to the detriment of his own work, until Sal meets an untimely demise, which prods David to get to the bottom of Kell's relationship to Sal and Delia. Delia counters, predictably, by taking aim at David's libido. Siegel's forays into absurdist comedy include a wheelchair-bound street person with oracular powers and an insensate patient who nevertheless manages to climb down a rope ladder from his window. The pace is blinding, but speed alone does not entirely compensate for a paucity of real humor and insight. In the end, Siegel's venture into the sick world of medicine, while entertaining, pales compared to Samuel Shem's classic The House of God. (Apr.)
Kirkus Reviews
A hyperkinetic debut about an intern's induction into the byzantine manners of Manhattan's Bellevue hospital. David Levy, M.D., naively starts his internship imagining that heþll find orderly learning and ample opportunity to ease suffering and save lives. Instead, he finds himself going through the motions with chronically ill patients while being alternately ridiculed and ignored by the resident in chargeþ"Fat" Goldman, a chain-smoking grouch with a schoolboy crush on wily Delia, a medical student. David's childhood friend and fellow intern Sal incurs Goldman's wrath by showily pursuing Delia himself and then flaunting his success. Meanwhile, amidst the requisite drudgery and humbling run-ins with nurses, David worries about Sal, whose performance is increasingly erratic. Making matters worse, no one seems to be supervising Goldman: The attending physician, Dr. Kell, has only one concernþenlisting patients for his top-secret study involving intravenous doses of an unnamed red liquid. After several blow-ups, Sal is suddenly nowhere to be found, then shows up in the emergency room days later, sweaty and delirious. Are Delia's machinations or Dr. Kell's protocols somehow to blame? Just as he seems to be getting better, Sal disappears from the hospital, then turns up dead. Worn down by despair, theatrical nightmares, and incoherent (exhaustion-fueled?) suspicions, David gets caught up in his own career-jeopardizing dalliance with Delia. Luckily, though, he gets over her, becomes reconciled to injustice and chaos, and buckles down to learn his trade. Author-internist Siegel's group portrait of the oddballs and visionaries who inhabit Bellevue's wards is lively andoften engaging. But the rushing about engendered by David's preoccupation with Sal is tiresome, and if nefarious goings-on did lead to Sal's death, they aren't spelled out in the whiny final confrontation between David and Dr. Kell. A messy mix, then, of satire, sleep deprivation, and suspense, without payoff.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780684836027
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
04/28/1998
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
5.78(w) x 8.75(h) x 0.96(d)

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Bellevue 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
shocking, horror, surprises all in one. I couldn't put this book down because I wanted to see what happened next.