Nov 182013

weddle-countryhardballNew York Times:  Steve Weddle’s writing is downright dazzling in COUNTRY HARDBALL (Tyrus Books, cloth, $24.99; paper, $16.99), 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.

–Marilyn Stasio