Excerpt from North River by Pete Hamill, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

North River

A Novel

by Pete Hamill

North River by Pete Hamill X
North River by Pete Hamill
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jun 2007, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2008, 368 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team
Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


"You've got to go to a hospital, Eddie."

"A hospital? You nuts? You might as well drive me to the Daily News." His voice was quavering and whispery with morphine. "This can't get out. This -"

"I can't do what you need, Eddie," Delaney said. "You need a surgeon."

"You did it in the Argonne, Doc!"

"And botched it for too many guys."

"You didn't botch it for me!"

"You need a professional surgeon, Eddie. Someone whose right hand works right, not like mine. Someone at St. Vincent's."

"Anybody comes in shot, the nuns call the cops."

"Let me see what I can do," Delaney said. "Your phone working?"

"Yeah," Bootsie said. "Over there."

Delaney called St. Vincent's, identifi ed himself, asked which surgeons were on duty, and held on. His eyes moved around the club, the blood and disorder, and Eddie Corso moaning, and the sallow man guarding the door, and Bootsie nibbling at some cake left on the bar. His gaze fell on the framed photographs of prizefi ghters and ballplayers, of old picnics, feasts, weddings, and then on the browning photograph of the remnant of the battalion. In a gouged field in France. All of them were still young, the farm boys and the city rats, and he could see Eddie Corso laughing like a man who'd won a lottery, always joking, as brave as any man Delaney had ever known. He saw himself too, off on the side, with his medic's armband, his face gaunt, a cigarette in his good right hand.

"Hello, hello," came the voice on the phone. "This is Dr. Zimmerman."

"Thank God," Delaney said, relieved that it was this particular young intern. "Jake, I need a big favor."

It was after eleven when Bootsie dropped him off at the house on Horatio Street. They had taken Eddie Corso through an old delivery entrance at the side of the hospital and hurried him into surgery. If he lived, there would be no records. If he died, it didn't matter. Around ten, Jake Zimmerman came out, young and bony and frazzled, and told Delaney with a nod and a thin smile that Eddie would survive. The nuns would bring him along after the operation, adhering to their own special vows of silence.

"By the way," Zimmerman said, "where'd your patient get those scars? One on the back, one on the leg?"

"The Argonne," Delaney said. "I sewed him up. That's why it looks so bad."

"The Argonne?"

"Yeah."

"You never told me that."

"It was a long time ago, Jake."

In another life. Now he was on Horatio Street, with the snow still blowing hard. Bootsie's exhausted breathing had fogged the windows. Delaney opened the door.

"Thanks, Bootsie," he said.

"Thank you, Doc."

Then he reached over and touched Delaney's arm.

"You're a good fuckin' man, Doc."

"I wish," Delaney said, and stepped into the driving snow.

He looked up at the small brick house, the one he'd been given at her death by Evelyn Langdon. Ten years ago now, in a good year, before the goddamned Depression. She was the last of the old Protestant families who had come to the street in the 1840s, fl eeing cholera and the Irish, building their impregnable brick and brownstone fortresses. He had kept her alive until she was seventy- three. She had outlived her two children and all of her friends. When she died and the will was read, there was a note to Delaney, explaining that the house was now for him and his wife, Molly, and his daughter, Grace. You have been my last and perhaps truest friend. Please use this house to enrich human life.

Well, I did try, he thought as he opened the iron front gate under the stoop, remembering Evelyn's note. I tried, and too often failed. Most of all, I've failed those I loved the most.

Then he noticed the disturbed snow on the stoop itself, and, at the top, a fog rising on the tall glass windows of the vestibule. It was like Bootsie's fog in the car, a streaky, uneven fog made by breathing. He hurried up the steps, gripping the iron banister with his good left hand. Foot marks were drifted over with fresh snow. He glanced back to the street, but Bootsie was gone.

Copyright © 2007 by Pete Hamill

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Winter in Sokcho
    Winter in Sokcho
    by Elisa Dusapin
    Our unnamed narrator is a young French-Korean woman who works at a guest house in Sokcho, a popular ...
  • Book Jacket: Second Place
    Second Place
    by Rachel Cusk
    Rachel Cusk's Outline trilogy drew much of its substance from monologues and dialogues that swirled ...
  • Book Jacket: The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman
    The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman
    by Julietta Henderson
    The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman is the comedic debut novel of writer Julietta Henderson. It ...
  • Book Jacket: In Search of a Kingdom
    In Search of a Kingdom
    by Laurence Bergreen
    The Age of Exploration in the early modern period, lasting roughly from the 15th through 16th ...

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
Of Women and Salt
by Gabriela Garcia
A kaleidoscopic portrait of generations of women from a 19th-century Cuban cigar factory to the present day.

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Crossing the River
    by Carol Smith

    A powerful exploration of grief that combines memoir, reportage, and lessons in how to heal.

  • Book Jacket

    Ariadne
    by Jennifer Saint

    A mesmerizing debut novel about Ariadne, Princess of Crete for fans of Madeline Miller's Circe.

Who Said...

Choose an author as you would a friend

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

A S I T closet

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.