Whatever Don’t Drown Will Always Rise

WDDWAR full art

“Justin Lawrence Daugherty has not just a voice, but a hulking, goose-pimpling presence on the page –  like something buried in the earth too long and about to burn its way out. He is an acute and devastatingly honest observer of the current human condition, and his characters limp and bayonet their way through What Don’t Drown Will Always Rise like soldiers of some wounded new century. “

–Amber Sparks, author of May We Shed These Human Bodies and co-author of The Desert Places with Robert Kloss

“Written in a rich and pungent lyricism, the brief stories of Justin Lawrence Daugherty’s Whatever Don’t Drown Will Always Rise are populated by a strange rough cast who in their pitched yearnings, their struggles and terrors, force us to recognize our own wild essential natures, the wolves howling from the bleak forests of our souls.”

—Robert Kloss, author of The Alligators of Abraham

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.”

–Jill Talbot

Whatever Don’t Drown Will Always Rise is available from Passenger Side Books!

Ten stories of myths and the roads that sprawl out from them. These are not the stories of Greek and Roman gods, but of the daily hurts and hopes people cling to in lieu of a simple other, the apparitions and rumors of science and tradition that can give or take away.

James Brubaker talked up WDDWAR in The Fiddleback’s blog.


At JMWW – a review by Michael Tager

At Heavy Feather Review – a review by Kate Kimball

Sam Snoek-Brown – Goodreads

Leesa Cross-Smith –  Goodreads


Whatever Don’t Drown Will Always Rise


Dogzplot – Suicide Dogs

Hobart – All This Roadmap of Hurt

Housefire – Heart Punch

Little Fiction – fishkill

SmokeLong Quarterly – Blood


4 thoughts on “Whatever Don’t Drown Will Always Rise

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