Synopses & Reviews
Steve Earle does everything he does with intelligence, creativity, passion, and integrity. In music, these strengths have earned him comparisons to Bruce Springsteen, the ardent devotion of his fans, and the admiration of the media. And Earle does a lot: he is singer, songwriter, producer, social activist, teacher. . . . Hes not only someone who makes great music; hes someone to believe in. With the publication of his first collection of short stories, DOGHOUSE ROSES, he gives us yet another reason to believe.
Earles stories reflect the many facets of the man and the hard-fought struggles, the defeats, and the eventual triumphs he has experienced during a career spanning three decades. In the title story he offers us a gut-wrenchingly honest portrait of a nearly famous singer whose life and soul have been all but devoured by drugs. Billy the Kid” is a fable about everything that will never happen in Nashville, and Wheeler County” tells a romantic, sweet-tempered tale about a hitchhiker stranded for years in a small Texas town. A story about the husband of a murder victim witnessing an execution addresses a subject Earle has passionately taken on as a social activist, and a cycle of stories features the American,” a shady international wanderer, Vietnam vet, and sometime drug smuggler a character who can be seen as Earles alter ego, the person he might have become if he had been drafted.
Earle is a songwriters songwriter, and here he takes his writing gift into another medium, along with all the grace, poetry, and deep feeling that has made his music honored around the world.
A brilliant tale of regret and redemption haunted by the ghost of Hank Williams, Steve Earle's debut novel brings to life an obscure piece of music history.
Doc Ebersole lives with the ghost of Hank Williams—not just in the figurative sense, not just because he was one of the last people to see him alive, and not just because he is rumored to have given Hank the final morphine dose that killed him.
In 1963, ten years after Hank's death, Doc himself is wracked by addiction. Having lost his license to practice medicine, his morphine habit isn't as easy to support as it used to be. So he lives in a rented room in the red-light district on the south side of San Antonio, performing abortions and patching up the odd knife or gunshot wound. But when Graciela, a young Mexican immigrant, appears in the neighborhood in search of Doc's services, miraculous things begin to happen. Graciela sustains a wound on her wrist that never heals, yet she heals others with the touch of her hand. Everyone she meets is transformed for the better, except, maybe, for Hank's angry ghost—who isn't at all pleased to see Doc doing well.
A brilliant excavation of an obscure piece of music history, Steve Earle's I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive is also a marvelous novel in its own right, a ballad of regret and redemption, and of the ways in which we remake ourselves and our world through the smallest of miracles.
In this “witty, heartfelt story of hope, forgiveness, and redemption,”* celebrated musician, actor, and activist Steve Earle shows that his talents are truly far-ranging and adds a “richly imagined”** novel to his list of achievements.
Rumored to have given Hank Williams the final morphine dose that killed him, Doc Ebersole lives with the famed singers ghost—and not just in the figurative sense. In 1963, ten years after Hanks death, Doc has fallen to performing abortions and patching up the odd knife wound to feed his own addiction. But when a young Mexican immigrant appears in the neighborhood in search of Docs services, miraculous things begin to happen.
Ill Never Get Out of This World Alive is a brilliant excavation of an obscure piece of music history, a ballad of regret and redemption, and of the ways in which we remake ourselves through the smallest of miracles.
Wracked by guilt and addiction 10 years after administering a fatal morphine overdose to Hank Williams, Doc Ebersole performs illegal medical services in the red-light district of San Antonio before meeting a young Mexican immigrant who seems to heal others with her touch. 50,000 first printing.
Praise for I'LL NEVER GET OUT OF THIS WORLD ALIVE
"Steve Earle brings to his prose the same authenticity, poetic spirit, and cinematic energy he projects in his music. Ill Never Get Out of This World Alive is like a dream you cant shake, offering beauty and remorse, redemption in spades." —Patti Smith ". . . a doctor, a Mexican girl, an Irish priest, the ghost of Hank Williams, and JFK the day before he dies. This subtle and dramatic book is the work of a brilliant songwriter who has moved from song to orchestral ballad with astonishing ease." —Michael Ondaatje "A rich, raw mix of American myth and hard social reality, of faith and doubt, always firmly rooted in a strong sense of character." —Charles Frazier "Steve Earle writes like a shimmering neon angel." —Kinky Friedman "Earle has created a potent blend of realism and mysticism. Musician, actor, and now novelist—is there another artist in America with such wide-ranging talent?" —Ron Rash "The characters are unforgettable and the plot moves like a fast train. A fantastic mixture of hard reality and dark imagination." —Thomas Cobb "A haunting and haunted bookend to Irvings Cider House Rules. Gritty and transcendent, Earle has successfully created his own potion of Texas, twang, and dope-tinged magic realism." —Alice Randall
"Steve Earle brings to his prose the same authenticity, poetic spirit and cinematic energy he projects in his music. Ill Never Get Out of This World Alive is like a dream you cant shake, offering beauty and remorse, redemption in spades." —Patti Smith "Shot through with humor and insight and . . . enough action and intriguing characters in it to keep readers turning pages." —Boston Globe [For Doghouse Roses:] "Earles writing never lacks heart." —New York Times Book Review "As he does in his songs, Earle finds the tenuous points of emotional connection between characters who are living not only on the edges of their own ability to cope, but often on the very margins of society itself." —Rolling Stone
“Steve Earle brings to his prose the same authenticity, poetic spirit, and cinematic energy he projects in his music. Ill Never Get Out of This World Alive
is like a dream you cant shake, offering beauty and remorse, redemption in spades.” —Patti Smith
“Shot through with humor and insight and . . . enough action and intriguing characters in it to keep readers turning pages.” —Boston Globe
Doc Ebersole lives with the ghost of Hank Williams. Literally.
In 1963, ten years after he may have given Hank the morphine shot that killed him, Doc has lost his license. Living in the red-light district of San Antonio, he performs abortions and patches up the odd knife wound to feed his addiction. But when Graciela, a young Mexican immigrant, appears in the neighborhood in search of Docs services, miraculous things begin to happen. Everyone she meets is transformed for the better, except, maybe, for Hanks angry ghost—who isnt at all pleased to see Doc doing well.
Steve Earle has taken his considerable narrative talents -- already evidenced in a songwriting career spanning three decades -- and applied them to the page in DOGHOUSE ROSES, his first story collection. With all the grace, poetry, and passion that has made his music honored around the world, Earle offers eleven stories in this remarkable literary debut. He chronicles the lives of the lost and the lonely -- rebels, addicts, outlaws, and drifters -- with a voice that is "vigorous, punchy, often profane and more often profound" (The Oregonian).
About the Author
STEVE EARLE is a singer-songwriter, actor, activist, and the author of a Los Angeles Times Book of the Year, the story collection Doghouse Roses. He has released more than a dozen critically acclaimed albums, including the Grammy winners The Revolution Starts Now, Washington Square Serenade, and Townes. He has appeared on film and television, with celebrated roles in The Wire and Treme. His album entitled Ill Never Get Out of This World Alive was produced by T Bone Burnett. He often tours with his wife, singer-songwriter Allison Moorer.
Table of Contents
Doghouse Roses 1 Wheeler County 27 Jaguar Dance 48 Taneytown 78 Billy the Kid 88 The Internationale 107 The Red Suitcase 116 A Eulogy of Sorts 136 The Reunion 144 The Witness 173 A Well-Tempered Heart 204