"No one can be lonely who has a book for company." ~ Nelle Reagan

Monday, February 18, 2013

A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash

A Land More Kind Than Home 
Author:  Wiley Cash
Published:  2012
Publisher:  William Morrow Paperbacks, a division of Harper Collins
Pages:  336
Category:  fiction
ISBN 9780062088239
Source:  A complimentary copy was provided by the publisher and TLC book tours to facilitate this review.  The opinions expressed here are my own without prejudice.

In his phenomenal debut novel—a mesmerizing literary thriller about the bond between two brothers and the evil they face in a small North Carolina town—author Wiley Cash displays a remarkable talent for lyrical, powerfully emotional storytelling.
For a curious boy like Jess Hall, growing up in Marshall means trouble when you get caught spying on grown-ups. Adventurous and precocious, Jess is protective of his older brother, Christopher, a mute whom everyone calls Stump. Though their mother has warned them not to snoop, Stump can’t help sneaking a look at something he’s not supposed to—an act that will have repercussions. It’s a wrenching event that thrusts Jess into an adulthood for which he’s not prepared. He now knows that a new understanding can bring not only danger and evil—but also the possibility of freedom and deliverance.
Told by resonant and evocative characters, A Land More Kind Than Home is a haunting tale of courage in the face of cruelty and the power of love to overcome the darkness that lives in us all.

My Thoughts:
A Land More Kind Than Home has borne some comparisons to Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird but I believe it stands on its own merits.  Wiley Cash's debut novel shares  a similar setting but where racial tension is the predominant issue in To Kill a Mockingbird, faith, genuine and false, are the issues on which A Land More Kind Than Home is plotted.

To read the author's notes at the back of the book, we find the inspiration for his novel.  True events, his own personal experiences growing up in the southern states, and inspiration from others including authors and mentors, are the cornerstones upon which Cash's story is created.  But, this is a work of fiction.  Cash does a supreme job of building the story and the resulting tension while creating "real" characters.

Cash uses three different characters to present the story:  Jess Hall, Adelaide Lyle, and Sheriff Clem Barefield.  Each character narrates a chapter or two at a time, telling the story from their perspective.  Jess is a child, Adelaide is a elderly lady who refuses to attend church meetings while the current pastor is in "control" (my words, not hers) and she even goes so far as to have the children join her for her Sunday School so they are not subjected to the wild teachings, demonstrations, and "healings" of the pastor.  Clem Barefield is the sheriff who is called upon when things at church go desperately wrong.  The three perspectives make a well-rounded telling of this gothic novel.

I enjoyed this novel.  I found it a bit slow going at first but once I sat down and was able to devote some undivided attention to it, it just flowed.  This southern gothic "thriller" will grab you by the heartstrings and open your eyes to a whole new world that you only hear about in snippets and in passing.  Situations similar to those  presented in A Land More Kind Than Home do exist and it's rather a frightening realization.  

A Land More Kind Than Home will create a great deal of discussion as a book club read and that is just what members love; a book they can sink their teeth into!  As a debut novel, Wiley Cash has written a winner and I look forward to future revelations from him.

Check out the author's official website, like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.


  1. I'm so glad you liked it! I find the idea behind the novel fascinating.

    Thanks for being on the tour!

    1. Thanks for having me Trish! Wiley Cash's writes this story with such skill you'd never know it was his debut novel!


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