Did you see Steve Earle in July at the Pabst? I'm part of his cult following, but the closest I've ever come to a drug experience was on a windy night in the 1980's when I ingested a Diet Coke and four tabs of an effervescent antacid. You might know the Earle of yore and lore: great music and a heroin habit; buddy of the late Townes Van Zandt; husband of six ex-wives; photos of joints the size of corn cobs dangling insensibly from his mouth. Earle once balanced on a wall above 17th Avenue in NYC with a whipped cream dispenser of nitrous oxide in one hand and a bottle of tequila with 16 dissolved LSD tabs in the other. Luckily, after a stint in jail he cleaned up his act and has since recorded music that makes poets cry themselves to sleep.
Earle's second shot at fiction, I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive, details the troubled life of heroin addict Doc Ebersole, haunted by his former patient and friend, singer-songwriter Hank Williams--and man, is this spook cheesed off. As angry as a bag of wasps and dead for nearly a decade, Hank torments Doc daily. The technical difficulty of distinguishing between illusion and reality is one of the oldest and most important problems faced by writers in particular and by mankind in general. The allegorical details throughout the book (stigmatas, miracles, spirits, and mysterious cures) never overwhelm the story, which is shot through with Earle's usual humor, insight, and elegiac humanity. The book will appeal to Earle fans, lovers of magical realism, and readers longing for a transcendental way of life or a page-turning fable. And if you're not interested in ghosts and miracles, click here to check out the library's collection of terrific Steve Earle music!
Submitted by Jane @ East