A Land More Kind Than Home
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A Land More Kind Than Home

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  10,277 ratings  ·  1,881 reviews
A stunning debut reminiscent of the beloved novels of John Hart and Tom Franklin, A Land More Kind Than Home is a mesmerizing literary thriller about the bond between two brothers and the evil they face in a small western North Carolina town.

For a curious boy like Jess Hall, growing up in Marshall means trouble when your mother catches you spying on grown-ups. Adventurous...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published April 17th 2012 by William Morrow (first published 2012)
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A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley CashGone Girl by Gillian FlynnThe Book of Jonas by Stephen DauTell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka BruntHand Me Down by Melanie Thorne
Kirkus Best Fiction of 2012
1st out of 100 books — 50 voters
The Fault in Our Stars by John GreenInsurgent by Veronica RothGone Girl by Gillian FlynnCity of Lost Souls by Cassandra ClarePandemonium by Lauren Oliver
Best Books of 2012
226th out of 2,999 books — 9,238 voters


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Community Reviews

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karen

You show me a woman who calls herself a Christian up in these parts, and I'll show you a woman who knows how to heal. It ain't un-Christian to make do when you're poor, I can promise you that. You just show me a Christian woman up here, and I'll show you a woman who knows what to pick and where to find it. If you don't know how to heal yourself, then you don't know how to live when times are hard.

ahhhh, another "salt of the earth," "take care of your own business" kind of book.

and another great...more
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Jul 13, 2014 Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of Southern Gothic Lit
Recommended to Florence (Lefty) by: Shelby
A sinister thriller with all the elements you look for in southern gothic. Good versus evil, a tragic morality tale spiced with carnal sin and deceit, its focus the terrible cost to a community when blind faith and religious fervor is taken to the cult level. You’ve got the perfect villain in Carson Chambliss, a crooked snake lovin pastor, nastier than the rattlers he uses to test the devotion of his flock. Caught in his cross-hairs is poor ‘Stump’ Hall, a young mute boy who's only line of defe...more
Mike
A Land More Kind Than Home: The Debut Novel of Wiley Cash

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Wiley Cash

Wiley Cash takes his title from the final lines of You Can't Go Home Again by Thomas Wolfe. The epigraph Cash chose sets the tone of the work that follows.

Something has spoken to me in the night...and told me I shall die. I know not where. Saying:

"[Death is] to lose the earth yo know, for greater knowing; to lose the life you have, for greater life; to leave the friends you loved, for greater loving; to find a land more kind t
...more
Trudi
This book has everything I love -- a Southern setting, secrets, family tragedy, religious zealotry run amok, and strong narrative voices. If I had read it, it would have been an easy four stars. But because I listened to it, and the audio version is one of the best I've ever heard, it's getting five stars.

This is a debut novel -- is it flawless? No. But you know what? I didn't care. I don't think you will either. I got so swept up and carried away by the story I was being told I was living it....more
Shelby *wants some flying monkeys*
You know that feeling of a chill going up your spine when you are reading a really good book? That's what this story was to me.
Now don't get me wrong..this book is dark fiction. Not all fairy tales and happy endings.

This story is told from three points of view but it's not confusing when the view points switch. The one that tore my heart out was 8 year old Jess. The other two viewpoints are from the sheriff who has suffered his share of loss and an elderly woman who has seen bad in men before.

Y...more
Will Byrnes
The title of the book is taken from Thomas Wolfe's You Can’t Go Home Again, referring to death as how we “find a land more kind than home, more large than earth,” so you have to expect some unpleasantness before we come to the end.

Evil arrives in garish togs. Carson Chambliss is a reverend of suspect provenance. He comes to town, takes over an unused church, papers over the windows and mesmerizes his congregation with some very old-time religion. He seems particularly taken with snakes, handling...more
Derek
May 18, 2014 Derek rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Derek by: Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Shelves: 2014-books, fiction
"People out in these parts can take hold of religion like it's a drug, and they don't want to give it up once they've got hold of it. It's like it feeds them, and when they're on it they're likely to do anything these little backwoods churches tell them to do. Then they'll turn right around and kill each other over faith, throw out their kids, cheat on husbands and wives, break up families just as quick".

For a debut novel, I thought this one was really good. Wiley Cash certainly knows this terri...more
Tammy
One of the best things in life is to start a new book. And what makes it even better is when you can't put the book down because it's so incredibly good. Maybe because I'm picky or get bored easily new books don't always hold my attention and my excitement to seems to fizzle halfway into them.

Well this book is the exception as it was amazing, heartbreaking, gripping and haunting. If Goodreads allowed me to give it 10 stars I would. I'm not sure how I came across this book, but was glad to see t...more
Allison
I planned on liking this book. It had a great deal of promise from the get go with it's setting in a small town in Western NC, and a title taken straight out of Thomas Wolfe. Unfortunately, Wiley Cash didn't quite live up to the Wolfe legacy, and it seemed he could have, but just missed the mark.

The story of Carson Chambliss, a sinister, snake-handling preacher, and the hold he has on his congregation, is told through three different points of view. There is Adelaide Lyle, a elderly midwife who...more
Diane S.
My goodness but this book was fantastic! His use of local color and dialect, his descriptions, his use of the weather to ratchet up the tension, and all this from a first time author. The town midwife, Adelaide, who sees it as her job to protect the children, the sheriff, who has plenty of tragedy in his own life, and the two young boys, Jess, who is in third grade, and his older but mute brother, Christopher. When evil comes to their small Appalachian town in the form of itinerant preacher, Cha...more
Connie
Wiley Cash's first novel "A Land More Kind Than Home" is a reader's delight! What a storyteller he is. I was transported to a time which most of us may think of as long ago, but is still alive in the rural mountains of North Carolina. Living in NC I felt this book spoke to what I have come to know.

Told from the perspective of 3 different characters this heartbreaking, and sometimes hard to read story unravels, and carries the reader away. The prose is wonderful and he captures the speech and c...more
Connie
I really love this book. It grabs the reader by the throat from page one and does not let go! It is different from anything I have ever read, and I like that. It is beautifully written; the characters rise up from the page and come alive. The author has crafted the diction and dialogue with such precision the the prose sings. One of the best books I have read in a very long time, and I found myself thinking about this book weeks after reading it.
I am greatly anticipating Wiley Cash's next book.
Dem
A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash is a heartbreaking and beautifully written story about religion, family and a community who fail to protect a child.

I must admit the first thing that drew me to this book was its cover, it is beautiful and I am a sucker for a pretty picture.
But this book is far from just a pretty cover picture, it’s the story of Jess Hall who watches in horror as his autistic brother is smothered during a healing service in the mountains of North Carolina.

This novel is be...more
Chelsea Miller
I have to say, this first reads giveaway was only ok. Although the writing was decent and there were a few jaw dropping moments, this novel is not particularly memorable. Too often the narrator strayed from the original story to tell a tidbit from the past and it ended up leaving me feeling disconnected from the action at hand. The plot had potential but unfortunately fell short for me.
Paquita Maria Sanchez
This was a present from a goodreader, so first of all: thank you for the book, Eh?! It seems you have me all figured out with the corrupt church and its crooked leader of lemming parishioners, the crushing poverty, the substance abuse spurring from the crushing poverty combined with a consuming inability to forgive oneself for anything, and the humans being nasty to one another for dumb reasons because they have no grasp of the world being larger than about 10 square miles. My kinda storieees!

Th...more
Eh?Eh!
This felt hurky-jerky at the start, lurching the present-day crime forward in a chronological tangle. But before the halfway mark, it had smoothed out its storytelling stride, the flashbacks becoming interludes that felt like sitting on the porch of the general store to listen to the oldtimers tell of old scandals and how people used to be before life ran over them. The end was abrupt and maybe too neat. I don't know that this will be one that will stick with me but I did enjoy reading it.
Ruth Turner

This book dragged me in from the beginning and I read it in one sitting.

It's well written, with a cast of wonderful characters. I felt as though I was there with them.

It did jump around a bit, which I found a little distracting, but otherwise an excellent read.

I loved it!
Shaun
I abandoned this book at page 100 of 280. It's not god-awful horrible, just didn't do enough for me to warrant more of my time.

Felt the writing was a little clunky and unpolished. Also did not like the three points of view all told in first person. I've read novels before where it has worked, but don't think it worked well here.

Also felt the dialogue sounded stilted/forced and the characters were somewhat cliche and weak.

If the author hasn't hooked me after the first third of the book, I doubt...more
Pamela
Here are just a few of the clichés in this book:

1. Egomaniacal preacher who is heavily into snakes, poison, and, of course, selected ladies of his congregation
2. Kind and loving father who was abused by his father
3. Father of the above (grandfather of child character) just happens to return at just the right moment.
4. Woman raised in the backwoods who speaks as the "conscience" of the book
5. Sheriff with a lot of common sense, a painful experience in the past, and ennui....don't forget the ennui...more
Rick Fisher
I was torn between rating this debut novel by Wiley Cash with 3 or 4 stars. The story is superbly written. And, being from a small town nestled in the foothills of the Applachian mountains of Virginia, not to far from the setting of this story, I can relate to the characters and their way of life very well.
The only issue I had was the pace of the story. Of course, this is a genre that normally runs slow. For a dramatic piece, it moves fairly steady through each characters segments. It gives gr...more
Noeleen
Set in North Carolina, A Land More Kind Than Home tells the story of a small, tight-knit community and the evil that visits them in the form of the church and religion. The story is told from three perspectives, Adelaide Lyle, the town midwife, Clem Barefield, the local sheriff and Jess Hall, the young boy whose family is central to the story.

This is an impressive, well written debut from Wiley Cash. Cash has the ability to create a very atmospheric and haunting setting. There were some beautif...more
JoAnne Pulcino
A LAND MORE KIND THAN HOME

By Wiley Cash

A stunning debut novel that is a tender yet poignant coming-of-age literary thriller about two brothers, and the evil they face in a small western North Carolina town.

This compelling story is captured in the rhythms of Appalachian speech and in the pitch perfect voices of the narrators. The three narrators are young Jess Hall; adventurous, precocious, and very protective of his older mute brother called Stump, Adelaid Lyle, the town midwife and moral consci...more
Lou
A southern story that holds true to the ways lives were led. Ways family moved, interacted and their beliefs. The story read as if the people, place and events had come from writers such as Faulkner and Joe Lansdale, to name a few.

The child narrative was captivating, the blessed mute child, the family struggle to break from dark past. The closed church with papers blocking view from passing eye. A Gothic story that's tragic that touches strings of the heart and puts a spotlight on extremities.

T...more
Carol
quoted from the publisher...
"A stunning debut reminiscent of the beloved novels of John Hart and Tom Franklin, A Land More Kind Than Home is a mesmerizing literary thriller about the bond between two brothers and the evil they face in a small western North Carolina town."

I'm not certain I'd use the word stunning but Wiley Cash's debut is good. I am in agreement that there's a moodiness to the story reminiscent of Tom Franklin and John Hart. Fans of these authors might give this a try. I don't th...more
Kalen
I liked this one fine but not as much as everyone else, it seems. It reminded me a lot of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter (which I loved.) What I really did enjoy about this one was the effortless appearance of Cash's writing. Nothing ever felt forced. And typically I'm not a fan of dialect but this just worked. It was so subtly executed that it never felt tried or in the way. Good read for book groups.
Alice Webb

I am a fan of Southern stories, so was excited to find this book to read on my library's e-book shelf. Think William Faulkner, Harper Lee or Olive Ann Burns. Layers of emotions and gripping events told by three different narrators.

Jess witnesses a terrible scene involving his brother, who is mute, and his mother inside a snake handling, fanatical church. The pastor holds an iron grip of fear on his church members and Jess's dad is unaware of nearly all that is swirling around beneath the surf...more
Melissa
Appalachia lite! Cash has a plain, straight-up writing style that has no need for embellishment or detail, which can lead to some pretty bits like: "I knew that real loss isn't something you feel after watching a child once a week while his mama sings hymns. It takes a lifetime to build equity in loss. There ain't nothing before that."
Sadly, some of this stuff gets a tad soporific as well: "I stood up from the table & got me a glass from the cabinet & went to the refrigerator for the mil...more
Jeanette
This is probably only the second time I have ever given a debut book 5 stars. But I could not do other. I was enraptured from the beginning to the end. All through the eyes and ears of Jess and yet also so encapsulated in an adult heart too, with the thoughts of the Sheriff and within the memories and actions of Addie.

Fantastic read. And if you liked this one, read "Change of Climate" by Hilary Mantel in duo after, if possible. Different culture, different economics, different country, but marr...more
Crystal Craig
simply told but enjoyable

Wiley Cash's, A Land More Kind Than Home is a simple story but an enjoyable one. This book just has one of those titles that make you want to read the story; that's what first drew me to the book. I'd never even heard tell of Wiley Cash, but now that I've discovered his talent, I want to read more of his novels.

"I knew there were hollers in places below me where it had been dark for almost an hour, but up here on the ridge the sun was struggling to be remembered and I co...more
Bob Mustin
Appalachian literature has had its good and bad periods, but perhaps Wiley Cash’s first novel bodes well for the region’s fiction, as well as for the author. Cash’s story is a bit of a whodunit, a bit suspense, with a whole lot of Appalachian culture and color in a literary novel. The author tells the story in three voices: Jess Hall – a young boy, whose parents are going through a never-ending rough patch; Clem Barefield, a local sheriff, and Adelaide Lyle, an old woman jaded by age and things...more
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Wiley Cash is the author of The New York Times best seller A Land More Kind than Home (William Morrow/HarperCollins). A native of North Carolina, he and his wife currently live in Morgantown, WV. Please visit www.wileycash.com to learn more about Wiley's novel or to schedule a visit with your book club, class, or community.
More about Wiley Cash...
This Dark Road to Mercy The Rain Barrel: The interstices of race, class, and religion in North Carolina.

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“I've heard it said before that those who don't learn from the past are bound to repeat it, and I just don't know what I think about that. I figure I don't have too much use for it. The past will just weigh on you if you spend too much time remembering it.” 21 likes
“It's a good thing to see that people can heal after they've been broken, that they can change and become something different from what they were before.” 13 likes
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