Praise for Whatever Don’t Drown Will Always Rise

As ever so kind and gracious, Jill Talbot wrote this recently about Whatever Don’t Drown Will Always Rise:

Whatever Don’t Drown Will Always Rise reminds me of a scene from Walk the Line, when Johnny Cash (Joaquin Phoenix) plays “Folsom Prison Blues” for the first time, the way he eases, slowly, into it.  In three stanzas, we move from tremble to tremor.   A fine line between tremble and tremor.  And it’s here Justin Lawrence Daugherty sets his stories.  Where there’s “nothing anywhere around but sky,” Daugherty shows us the bodies in the backyard, the waitress in the diner, the moon-road shimmers and blackened suns, the nameless boy who carries a sparrow.  And he shows us ourselves as grieving shadows.  Daugherty creates characters consumed by their own fights, their own failings, and in doing so, he convinces us that the bad is going to happen, is going to come, “caution or not.” In this hardscrabbble world, we’re either going to protect against whatever’s coming or we’re going to stand out in the front yard and howl for it to come.   Daugherty’s is a powerful, haunting voice.  When I read his stories, I hear the train a comin’.  It’s rollin’ ‘round the bend.”

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