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. Since he lost his license to practice medicine, his morphine habit isn't as easy to support, so Doc 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 his 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 perhaps 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.
©2011 Steve Earle (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"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, New York Times best-selling author)
Yes because I cannot imagine any better way of accessing the book than having this author read it to you.
Doc was my favourite character because he was so complex but I loved Hank and almost all the others too.
Doc was my favourite again but I enjoyed the singing Hank very much.
I have been recommending this to everyone but as an audiobook because I feel this is the superior way of hearing this book with the actual Mr.Earle reading. Phenomenal.
Give it a try if you like true detective .I am a big Steve Earle fan. Having said that I like the Rolling Stones too. I'm not sure I would rush to buy a novel written by Mick Jagger. Which made me nervous about falling for the unquestioning rock fan approach of buying this novel. I'm surprised and a little bit humbled have to say that all my misgivings were wrong.
It's not the greatest story I've ever come across. Against that it has a totally convincing portrayal of a small impoverished but incredibly spiritual and loving world in an utterly hostile if not dangerous location in a part of Texas none of us would ever want to visit nevermind live in.
In one word his "drawl" I assume it's authentic Austin Texas. At any rate its brilliant
Anyone can be redeemed.
You never listened to the music of Hank Williams - you should
"The Down and Out get a spiritual renewal"
Steve Earle's voice and twang really drew me in. This is a good story of how the lost make their way in a hard-scrabble existence. The characters are believable and while their actions are questionable, you can it is all they can do to get by.
I really liked Steve Earle's narration....his pace, twang, expressions, etc. were very good.
I find that audiobooks greatly enhance the written word with tone of voice, pacing, rate of delivery, volume, etc. The book is "performed" for the listener and Steve Earle did this very well.
"Best Audible Book I've Listen to Yet"
It takes a lot for me to give five stars all the way around, but this book did it for me.
At first I was scratching my head at the selection of the narrator (not realizing it was also the author) because of his voice and slight slur. But the voice--and the slur--really captured the mood and the character of Doc, the main character. Not to gush, but...Steve Earle was awesome!
The story had sweet moments without being sweet. It had tragic moments without being a tragedy. The narrative carried me along on a wave and sometimes Earle sneaked in a surprising phrase or juxtaposition that just made me belly laugh.
Know what I didn't like? It was just too short. Well, not really. It was long enough to tell the story effectively. But I just wasn't ready to say good-bye to the characters.
"Authentic southern voice tells authentic story"
Come back to the five and dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean....1950s/1970s Southern states, and a hero (James Dean) that has died.
My favorite scene is the one where Marge, Dallas, and Graciela get excited about the coming visit of Jacky Kennedy.
Lively characters are set in a dramatic context. The roles of Doc, Manny, Dallas and especially Graciela, give me a feeling of the 1950s/1960s at the seamy side of life. What about a junkie doctor who does abortions, and is visited by the late Hank Williams in his weakest moments? It may sound far fetched, but Steve Earle makes it into an authentic slice of southern life as it might have been.
"Expect to be a fly on the wall in this story"
Yes I would and did, the book held my interest from the first paragraph with the totally real characters and places, it put me there with the story.
The people with their real highs and lows, plenty to be kept wondering what will happen
His Texan drawl fit perfectly and the book flowed as natural as as any I've ever heard.
I hope there are more books to follow from Steve Earle
"Interesting story. Great performance!"
If you like Elmore Leonard, you'll like this. Excellent reading by the author. The man can write almost as well as he sings.
"Very interesting and entertaining."
The author did a good job writing this story and he narrates it, which I enjoyed. A lot of cursing, but that aside, I give this book a thumb's up! The story has a unique tale to tell and brings history into it which made it seem very real.
"One of my favorite books."
I have recommended it to friends.
It's unique - I think it stands by itself.
I've always enjoyed Steve Earle's music, but it was a real pleasure to discover his writing talent.
I purchased this book AFTER I'd already listened to it twice for free as an audio loan from my library. It's like an old friend that's good at making you laugh until you cry - you just want them close by.
"Amazing! Couldn't stop listening."
Manny was awesome. Nothing quite like an enormous Mexican dope dealer with a heart of gold and a strict code of ethics.
"My new favorite narrator...."
Yes, it is beautiful, sad and lyrical.
How well the author captured the different personalities and brought them to life.
"Steve Earle is my hero."
I loved Doc's quick wit. The transvestite that enters the story is pretty great, too.
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