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Publisher's Summary

Named a Best Book by Entertainment Weekly, O Magazine, Goodreads, Southern Living, Outside Magazine, Oprah.com, HelloGiggles, Parade, Fodor’s Travel, Sioux City Journal, Read it Forward, Medium.com, and NPR’s All Things Considered

"A thunderclap of originality, here is a fresh voice and fresh take on one of the oldest stories we tell about ourselves as Americans and Westerners. It's riveting in all the right ways - a damn good read that stayed with me long after closing the covers." (Timothy Egan, New York Times best-selling author of The Worst Hard Time)

From a blazing new voice in fiction, a gritty and lyrical American epic about a young woman who disguises herself as a boy and heads west

In the spring of 1885, 17-year-old Jessilyn Harney finds herself orphaned and alone on her family's homestead. Desperate to fend off starvation and predatory neighbors, she cuts off her hair, binds her chest, saddles her beloved mare, and sets off across the mountains to find her outlaw brother Noah and bring him home. A talented sharpshooter herself, Jess' quest lands her in the employ of the territory's violent, capricious governor, whose militia is also hunting Noah - dead or alive.

Wrestling with her brother's outlaw identity, and haunted by questions about her own, Jess must outmaneuver those who underestimate her, ultimately rising to become a hero in her own right.

Told in Jess' wholly original and unforgettable voice, Whiskey When We're Dry is a stunning achievement, an epic as expansive as America itself - and a reckoning with the myths that are entwined with our history.

©2018 John Larison (P)2018 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

Mulan meets Deadwood in a Wild West novel narrated by its straight-shooting heroine.” (O Magazine)

“A smooth yet bracing Western yarn that both celebrates and subverts the romance of the Old West through more complex contemporary perspectives on gender and race…. As in Charles Portis’ classic True Grit, much of the appeal of the telling hangs upon the distinct voice of its narrator, and Jesse’s narration combines folksy vernacular with an easy loping gait.” (Seattle Times

“Larison writes with unrelenting momentum and thoughtfully explores questions of gender identity, power, and violence.” (Outside Magazine)

What listeners say about Whiskey When We're Dry

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
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Surprisingly fantastic

I'm not typically one to take in a Western. I listen to mostly thrillers, with some history books thrown in here and there. I actually got this book mainly because I found out I went to the same college as the author.

I thought this book was fantastic. Told in the first-person of young, 17-year-old Jessilyn, this book has lots of action and kept me engaged the entire time, which I was honestly I little worried about, especially coming from so many thriller novels. The narrator was absolutely superb, crossing from male to female flawlessly in a western accent. I really loved this book, and I highly recommend it.

30 people found this helpful

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Loved It!

I rarely leave reviews, but this was an excellent pairing of story and narrator, and I really enjoyed it. I’ve been under a lot of stress lately and the last few books I started didn’t really hold my interest, which is unusual for me, so I’m really glad to have found this one. The story was engaging and the the narrator’s voice was perfect, with no mechanical pauses or voices that didn’t fit to pull me out of the story.

32 people found this helpful

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Don't waste your time or money

The book seems like it has two different authors. The first part is well written with interesting characters, a believable plot that promises evolution, and a well drawn historical context. Then some other author came in and blew it up. The rest of the book was just violence, self-important pronouncements, and people behaving badly. That seems to be a substitute for good writing - just describe violent acts and attitudes in excruciating detail. I almost stopped listening to it but hung on, hoping the original author's style might reappear. It did not. However, the performance was excellent - certainly far better than the book itself. The accents were accurate, characters were distinguishable, and the pace was spot on. Will look for other audiobooks with Sophie Amoss as narrator.

15 people found this helpful

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Good narration kept me listening

Long book with lots of unnecessary description, predictable, but good for listening while doing chores.

13 people found this helpful

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I did not really like this book

The book started out good and I thought I was really going to like it but then it just went nowhere and the storyline lost me . I couldn’t even finish it

9 people found this helpful

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A pleasant freshness

Sick of CIA type heroes? Love history accurately shared? It's a good one
I do 2 or 3 books a week, its worth a listen

18 people found this helpful

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Very hard to put down

I am one that hate stories that drag out and does not go anywhere at the end. This is not one of them a lot of action. I can see where a lot of this kind of thing could of happened back then.

6 people found this helpful

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Epic

John Larison’s Whiskey When We’re Dry is an intense, tragic, and beautiful story about family, love, and the will to survive.

5 people found this helpful

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Loved it

Fabulous listen. Narrator is the best. Writing is superb, descriptions are so clear it made me feel I was there

4 people found this helpful

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Loved this one!

The characters are captivating and the writing was so poetic. The vocal performance was perfect for this story.

3 people found this helpful