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Publisher's Summary

Joseph Levy leads a quiet life in rural Wheaton, Arizona. Retired from a long career in psychiatric research and practice, he reads, writes, and wanders through the mountains and hills near the Native reservation.

His quiet life ends, however, when a dental crown replacement goes poorly just before meeting an internet date in California. Thus begins a year of back-to-back nightmare infections, a drug overdose, and two failed relationships.

At every step, Levy is confronted by matters of life and death, love and hate, faith and doubt, trust and betrayal. Most of all, he faces what it means to be sick and to be healthy. He prays to his God, relies on his friends, examines his dreams, and entrusts his psyche to a new therapist.

Joseph Levy Escapes Death is a tale of medical comedic horror and perseverance in the face of relentless adversity. This is the first novel by psychiatrist Rick Strassman - author of the best-selling DMT: The Spirit Molecule and co-producer of the hugely popular independent documentary by the same name.

Here, he paints his protagonist’s journey with a wide palette: medical, psychoanalytic, and religious - Jewish and Buddhist. Enlightening detours include discussions of love in the time of internet dating, cardiovascular physiology and microbiology, the Holocaust and Jewish-Christian relations, and the psychotherapeutic process.

Reactions to Joseph Levy are rarely neutral, and vary according to a person’s own psyche. Reviewers compare Strassman’s first novel to works by Kafka, Philip Roth, JD Sallinger, John Irving (Cider House Rule, The World According to Garp), and Joseph Heller (Catch-22).

©2019 Rick J. Strassman (P)2020 Rick J. Strassman

What listeners say about Joseph Levy Escapes Death

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A Real Treat!

Most of us expect our day of departure from this world to be an epic parting or a romanticized drama where we say goodbye to loved ones, just like in the movies. Joseph Levy escapes death paints a more realistic picture of that journey, in that it will be a day, just like any other day and you will be you, just like you are you right now. Without going into spoilers, the book is a dark comedy/drama cataloging the internal dialogue and happenings of Joseph Levy as he faces this very prospect. It is both subtle yet deeply profound depending on the listener. Considering it was written by a man that literally wrote the book on "The Spirit Molecule", and we, therefore, would expect to be deeply spiritual and well versed in esoteric afterlife theories. It is refreshingly humble and honest. It gave me permission not to be enlightened, even with my vast history of spiritual seeking and experiences. The book is about as close as one may get to the head-space of death before experiencing it themselves. Funny, authentic, and at times a little too real!

Ryan Kemp

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Joseph Levy Escapes Death: An Unexpected Story

Dr. Strassman delivers with his first ever fictional piece! Relatable, jocular and one-of-a-kind. I recommend.

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Gentle and real

A nice pandemic read about the mundane pains that order and navigate. Strassman is a great fiction writer

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  • Claudia
  • 09-06-20

Horrifically hilarious

If your first novel turns out to be a wild rollercoaster ride, in this case straight through the extremities of navigating problematic romantic relationships and analyzing one's own deteriorating physical and mental state, I think you did it right!
At times I almost cried laughing while listening to the audio book, at other times my stomach nearly turned. I have to add that being quite the hypochondriac myself, a lot of Levy's health related adventures hit a little too close to home for me. However, the ending is marvellous and I would happily volunteer to go on this ride again, and have my mind and gut shuffled all over again.

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  • Kc
  • 08-23-20

tragically funny philosophical

Intriguing story of a mindful, anxious, psychologist as he contemplates his own mortality against his relationships, knowledge and status during a health crisis.
It was good overall and I enjoyed listening to the audible version.

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  • Pac3mak3r
  • 08-22-20

No pain no gain

I was already a fan of Dr Strassman's other books so I was expecting to enjoy this semi autobiographical offering. I was pleased to find that it is narrated in exemplary fashion by Matt hicks,
Joseph Levy escapes death is a funny, sometimes harrowing account of fear and loathing in Gallup, new mexico. The story manages to be fun without taking the edge off the dark experiences the protagonist struggles to survive. Something else which is wonderful about this book is how accurate and true it is, in terms of its depiction of medical professionals and medical science itself. This aspect results from Strassmans storied career in science and medicine which only serves to enhance how relatable Joseph is as he is tossed on the tumultuous waves of medical care in America.
A deeply personal story which provides the reader the exciting contrast of highs and lows furnished with the revelatory insights of a great intellect and the comic buoyancy of a sharp wit. Go ahead, buy it, listen, what are you waiting for? Tempus Fugit

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-06-20

Such a human experience

This excellent narrative does a great job at depicting normal human experiences in such a real way. The suffering and uncertainty we all experience is completely relatable and normalized so vividly. From the author of "The Spirit Molecule", this book sprinkles intellectual and academic content while always being relevant to Joseph. On the surface it is a story about how this man navigates searching for meaning and normality, but can also be combed for much deeper insights about human nature,