C. D. Albin was born and reared in West Plains, Missouri. He earned a Doctor of Arts in English from the University of Mississippi and has taught for many years at Missouri State University – West Plains, where he founded and edits Elder Mountain: A Journal of Ozarks Studies. His stories, poems, and reviews have appeared in a number of periodicals, including Arkansas Review, Cape Rock, Georgia Review, Harvard Review, Natural Bridge, and Slant.
Praise for Hard Toward Home
A new voice from the Ozarks, C.D. Albin crafts a reverent, clear-eyed but heartfelt look at his people, the love, the violence, the myriad forces at work in lives that push the hidden up through the ground, to be seen and reckoned with in surprising ways.
Daniel Woodrell, author of Winter’s Bone
Characters don't talk much in C.D. Albin's unforgettable Hard Toward Home. They have a lot they want to say, but the pressure of love and disappointment, old violence and unforgotten resentment brings them to the very edge of what language can say. And then they find the words, searingly. Written with haunting restraint and understanding, these gorgeous, perfect stories explore the things we want and the things we're capable of, both of which often surprise us.
Erin McGraw, author of The Seamstress of Hollywood Boulevard
Hard Toward Home is hard to put down. The stories grab the reader by the shoulders and give him a good shake. C. D. Albin is a truly accomplished writer and these realistic tales are beautifully paced and composed of characters we’ve all met wherever we were raised. This is fine writing that makes us pay attention to every line, every detail, every character’s movement—all of it necessary. Not a wasted word in the whole book. Not a wasted second of a reader’s time.
Tim Gautreaux, author of The Missing
Hard Toward Home is alive with cross-grained people caught between their pasts and futures and striving to outlast the harm they've done each other and themselves. Albin possesses all the storyteller's gifts of eye and ear and mind and goes them one better by virtue of his heart. These stories are deep and wise and quietly gorgeous.
Janet Peery, author of The River Beyond the World
C.D. Albin’s Hard Toward Home features 10 fine and thrilling stories of the Ozarks and its people. While some debut collections contain a few misfires, Hard Toward Home impresses with solid story after solid story, each fully realized and beautifully rendered.
Ellis Purdie, The Clarion-Ledger
What makes the stories in Hard Toward Home so special is the way that Albin reveals his characters’ ambivalence. In every one of the ten stories in this collection, not only do the characters suffer from a kind of double-mind, a state of tension about how to handle the forces acting upon their lives, but so too does the reader feel pulled in two directions: simultaneously repulsed by the often vulgar dramas playing out on the page and rooting for the characters to find some kind of equanimity, a state of grace. Writing that makes us feel with such complexity deserves all the praise we might bestow.
Jeffrey Condran, Arkansas Review: A Journal of Delta Studies