On the Way to the Hospital, a Novel Is Born

Burke583_1 Nancy Ramsey in the New York Times:

“Write what you know.” That literary dictum has sent first-time novelists down some dark paths, and on some days and nights, the one chosen by Shannon Burke, the author of “Safelight,” was as harrowing as they come.

Mr. Burke is a former night-shift paramedic whose experiences with life and death on the streets of Upper Manhattan inspired “Safelight” (Random House), the gritty, moving story of Frank Verbeckas, a paramedic and photographer in his 20’s who, while struggling to recover from his father’s suicide, falls in love with a young woman who has AIDS. Reviewing the novel in The New York Times Book Review, Julia Livshin called it an “accomplished and haunting debut” and “a minimalist tour de force.”

More here.