Synopses & Reviews
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
"In this spruce debut novel (nine years after his short story collection, Doghouse Roses), hard-core troubadour Earle ponders miracles, morphine, and mortality in 1963 San Antonio, Tex., where aging junkie Doc Ebersole performs backroom abortions to support his habit. Ten years before, the doctor was riding shotgun while his patient, fishing buddy, and fellow addict Hank Williams coughed his last in the Cadillac's backseat. Ever since, Hank has haunted Doc, who now 'saw no need to squander more than a single syllable on a miserable life such as his own.' Hank's ghost berates Doc for taking in one of Doc's 'in trouble' Mexican girls, Graciela, who has breathed life not only into the lonesome codger, but into scores of San Antonio desperados who slink through their boarding-house clinic. Word is spreading that Graciela heals and redeems, and that even Doc might kick his habit if he doesn't kick the bucket first. With its Charles Portis vibe and the author's immense cred as a musician and actor, this should have no problem finding the wide audience it deserves. It won't hurt that Earle's next album comes out around the same time and shares the title. (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Everyone knows that terrible things happen in old country songs: A wife leaves her husband; a guy dies at war. Life's rough, times are hard.
Steve Earle, the well-known singer-songwriter, embraces this heartbreaky landscape in his first novel, a rowdy country music song turned into narration. The book's title -- and what a superb title it is -- comes from Hank Williams' last No. 1 hit, before his death, at age 29, in 1953.
Hank's ghost haunts the pages of Earle's story. But mostly he just haunts Doc, an ex-doctor who's fallen on hard times. Long ago, Doc injected Hank with morphine, to ease his back pain, which may have contributed to his death." Don Waters, San Francisco Chronicle
(Read the entire San Francisco Chronicle review
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.
A novel based on the imagined life of Hank Williams's sidekick and sometimes doctor, Doc Ebersole, and his haunting by his famous, dead friend.
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.
“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.
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.