Evacuation Plan: A Novel From The Hospice by Joe M. O’Connell


At first, this book appears to be a set of short stories.  However, as you read you realize that the stories are really chapters and part of a bigger novel.  At times this worked, but there were a few cases with new chapters where I could not figure out how they fit in.  It was not until I had completed reading the entire book that I saw the whole picture.

I worried when I started this book that it would be sad or difficult to read.  It is not.  The book has more to do with life than death.

While it is well written this book was not my cup of tea. I could not get into the story nor comprehend the drive behind the main character.


Welcome to the world of hospice where no one talks about the weather or other trivialities. Enter Matt, a fledgling screenwriter who volunteers to work with the terminally ill in exchange for a good plot for his next script. He meets the people who work, die and mourn in this world of last moments. In the novel-in-stories style of Tim O’Brien’s [i]July July[/i], O’Connell’s characters in [i]Evacuation Plan[/i] reveal themselves in poignantly unfolding stories: the gambler who played a risky game involving his wife and his ex-con father, the mortician who was an unwed father-to-be, the daughter whose dying father had no clue about the night her world spun out of control, the nurse who lived among aging neighbors and struggled to hold her own family in place, the drunk who magically encountered himself as a boy. Forgiveness, joy, making the final leap: [i]Evacuation Plan[/i] is the story of a world in which the clock ticks off the final moments for all of us and makes those moments a lifetime.

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