Happy Saturday everyone! My pick this week was chosen solely because of the wild praise it received on Amazon. Even though I’m a former book snob, I’ve learned that a book with plenty of good reviews is unlikely to let me down. The book lovers of the world came through for me again and helped me land a winner with “I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive” by Steve Earle.
This novel is set in the time shortly before and long after the assassination of JFK, in San Antonio. The main character, known mainly as Doc, is a former MD who has lost his license to practice. He’s also acquired a nasty drug habit and now works out of a decrepit boarding house, mostly performing illegal abortions to pay the rent and satiate himself. Not only is he haunted by drugs, but as the alleged last person to see Hank Williams alive (yes, as in Hank Williams, the country singer), Doc is haunted by his ghost. Throw in Doc’s latest patient, an illegal immigrant by the name of Graciela, who ends up possessing strange, healing powers and a whole cast of quirky cameos and you’ve got the basic plotline.
I know, I know – it sounds very weird. But I find that weird books are often the most moving! Apparently Steve Earle is a musician and actor, and quite an artsy one at that, so it should be no surprise that his debut novel is a tad off the beaten path. I’m sorry for not hearing of him sooner but promise to download some stuff and give it a listen) Anyways, it’s also not shocking that a musician (the ghost of Hank) has such a prominent role in the story. Steve Earle also has an album with the same title as this novel, which apparently draws on many of the same things. I do my research!
I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive was one of the quirkiest novels I’ve read in a long time, but it breezed by. At a short 250 pages, this one won’t take you long to devour. The language made for easy reading and the fast-paced story ensured that I never got bored. I didn’t know that Steve Earle was a first time novelist when I began reading the book and honestly couldn’t tell. He’s a great writer and I can’t wait to see more.
Do yourself a favor and step out of your comfort zone to try this one out!