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Liesl SchillingerIn the five years [Burke] served on city ambulances, first as an E.M.T., later as a paramedic at Station 18, on 136th Street across from Harlem Hospital, he saw unspeakable horrors. Unspeakable, but not inexpressible. In two searing and morally resonant novels—Safelight, published in 2004, and now Black Flies—Burke has wrestled with the meaning, and meaninglessness, of the suffering and human failings he witnessed during those disturbing years…Although Black Flies is a novel, it contains more reflections of lived experience than some memoirs (particularly recent memoirs). Reading this arresting, confrontational book is like reading Dispatches, Michael Herr's indelible account of his years as a reporter in Vietnam.
—The New York Times