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Books, Journals, New Media
May 26, 1999

Fiction: Bellevue

Author Affiliations

Copyright 1999 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.1999American Medical Association

JAMA. 1999;281(20):1954-1955. doi:10.1001/jama.281.20.1954-JBK0526-2-1

Bellevue is an entertaining novel. It is neither social criticism nor grand scale fiction of the Lloyd Douglas or A. J. Cronin ilk, but it falls closer to Richard Gordon's Doctor in the House series.

The protagonist is an intern at Bellevue, and the story follows his adjustment—or maladjustment—through that first postgraduate year. His problems are interpersonal and not particularly with medicine.

The dust jacket blurb characterizes this as a "Medico-Gothic" novel, and for the nonphysician that is apt. Big city hospitals tend to labyrinthine corridors and murkiness. Siegel has populated those corridors with equally dark figures. Bellevue is a short novel about a long year, and the nonphysician public accustomed to medical teledrama along the lines of St. Elsewhere and ER may find Bellevue a bit thin in action and detail. But the black humor of the human relationships makes up for this lack, and there are several other ways to view the novel.