Doc Ebersole lives with the ghost of Hank Williams - not just in the figurative sense, not just because Doc was one of the last people to see him alive, and not just because Doc is rumoured to have given Hank the final morphine dose that killed him.
In 1963, ten years after Hank's death, Doc is himself wracked by addiction. Having lost his licence to practise 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 neighbourhood 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 and a marvellous novel in its own right, Steve Earle's I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive is a ballad of regret and redemption, and of the ways in which we remake ourselves and our world through the smallest of miracles.