A powerfully observed, evocative, and “downright dazzling” (The New York Times) portrait of the American working class in this collection of related stories, perfect for fans of Bonnie Jo Campbell and Denis Johnson
After more than a decade spent in and out of juvenile detention, halfway houses, and jail, Roy Alison returns to his rural hometown determined to do better. But what he finds is a working-class community devastated by the economic downturn—a town without anything to hold onto but the past.
Staying with his grandmother, Roy discovers a family history of good intentions and bad choices. Around him, families lose their sons to war, hunting accidents, drugs. And Roy, along with the town, falls into old patterns established generations ago.
With Steve Weddle’s signature “powerful, empathetic” (Sean Chercover, Wall Street Journal bestselling author) prose, this novel-in-stories is a masterful and understated exploration of hardship, truth and hope.
Steve Weddle grew up on the border of Louisiana and Arkansas. He holds an MFA in creative writing from Louisiana State University, and currently works for a newspaper group. He lives with his family in Virginia. Find out more at SteveWeddle.com.
"Steve Weddle's Country Hardball is a perfect combination of the brokenhearted and the just flat broke... Here's hoping Weddle never stops writing..." --Benjamin Whitmer, author of Pike
“Steve Weddle’s writing is downright dazzling in a first novel told in intertwined stories that present a shattering portrait of a depressed rural area on the Arkansas-Louisiana border that seems to be reverting to its wilderness state. Several of the narratives are seen through the eyes of Roy Alison, fresh out of prison and looking to start a new life. But things have changed since he’s been away: There’s no work, drugs are rampant, families are breaking up, people are losing their homes to the banks, children are giving themselves up to casual cruelty and the boys who went off to war are dying. In this climate of despair, it doesn’t take Roy long to hook up with his scary cousin Cleovis to pull off a string of crimes that somehow make him feel alive in this land of the living dead.” – the New York Times
"These skillfully wrought interconnected stories form a debut novel that is relentless in describing the lives of people who are captives not only of their environment but also of their own histories." --Booklist
"Weddle paints a vivid, depressing picture of a blue-collar community crushed by economic collapse and endemic substance abuse with characters, events, and dialogue that seem all too real." --Publishers Weekly