I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive by Steve Earle

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Synopsis

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.

 

About Steve Earle

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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 I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive was produced by T Bone Burnett. He often tours with his wife, singer-songwriter Allison Moorer.
 
Published May 12, 2011 by Mariner Books. 258 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive

Kirkus Reviews

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Graciela (who refuses to be called “Grace,” though that’s what she embodies) stays with Doc after he performs her abortion, helping assist him in a procedure that her religion considers a mortal sin, and somehow develops a miraculous healing power that not only helps Doc kick his addiction but pr...

Mar 15 2011 | Read Full Review of I'll Never Get Out of This Wo...

Publishers Weekly

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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.

Mar 21 2011 | Read Full Review of I'll Never Get Out of This Wo...

Kirkus Reviews

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And I think my new songs on the record I’m about to release [titled the same as the novel, but otherwise unrelated] are a lot better because they were written during the time I was writing this novel.

May 12 2011 | Read Full Review of I'll Never Get Out of This Wo...

Star Tribune

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In a novel about addiction, the ghost of Hank Williams and a woman with mysterious powers, musician/actor/writer Steve Earle gives us haunted characters looking for reasons to believe.

May 19 2011 | Read Full Review of I'll Never Get Out of This Wo...

Book Reporter

The words "author" and "authority" are similar, but by no means interchangeable.

May 24 2011 | Read Full Review of I'll Never Get Out of This Wo...

Entertainment Weekly

Doc used to be a real doctor, but by the time we meet him in San Antonio in 1963, he's a gruff, morphine-addicted hack performing abortions and other illegal surgeries — and being haunted by the ghost of a former patient and fellow junkie, Hank Williams.

May 11 2011 | Read Full Review of I'll Never Get Out of This Wo...

The Telegraph

Related Articles Steve Earle interview: Why I am a Harry Potter fan Molly-O, and The Gulf of Mexico, are straightforward country-folk songs (in an album produced by T Bone Burnett) but two of the most impressive songs - God is God and I A...

Apr 27 2011 | Read Full Review of I'll Never Get Out of This Wo...

Suite 101

Author Steve Earle imagines Hank Williams Sr.

Nov 11 2011 | Read Full Review of I'll Never Get Out of This Wo...

Look At OKC

The story begins with Doc Ebersole, 10 years after he was rumored to have given country music legend Hank Williams his final morphine dose.

Jul 31 2011 | Read Full Review of I'll Never Get Out of This Wo...

We Love This Book

This first novel from the critically-acclaimed singer-songwriter and actor Steve Earle tells the story of Doc Ebersole.

Jul 07 2011 | Read Full Review of I'll Never Get Out of This Wo...

Bookmarks Magazine

The Story: Doc Ebersole is a disgraced ex-physician living in a seedy area of San Antonio.

May 16 2011 | Read Full Review of I'll Never Get Out of This Wo...

Chicago Sun Times

Steve Earle will read from and sign copies of I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive, plus conduct a Q&A session at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N.

May 12 2011 | Read Full Review of I'll Never Get Out of This Wo...

LA Times

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When Steve Earle sings “Didn't know that I was gonna live this long, now I'm sitting on top of the world” in his new album's opening track, “Waitin' on the Sky,” you can't help but think truer words have rarely been sung.

Apr 25 2011 | Read Full Review of I'll Never Get Out of This Wo...

The Blurb

The interplay between Doc, Hank and Graciela is the novel's strongest aspect, particularly in the way that lines are blurred by Doc's drug use, Graciela's spirituality and the shifting realities contained within that room on the South Presa Strip.

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