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A Land More Kind Than Home

3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  14,634 Ratings  ·  2,364 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
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Hardcover, 320 pages
Published April 17th 2012 by William Morrow (first published 2012)
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Heidi I was bothered by the fact that we never hear much from the character, Julie. As central to the conspiracy that transpires I feel more insight into…moreI was bothered by the fact that we never hear much from the character, Julie. As central to the conspiracy that transpires I feel more insight into her thinking would have done the book a great justice.(less)
Amanda Yes! I was caught off guard by the serious themes.
A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley CashTell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka BruntGone Girl by Gillian FlynnBring Up the Bodies by Hilary MantelThe Book of Jonas by Stephen Dau
Kirkus Best Fiction of 2012
1st out of 100 books — 63 voters
Cold Mountain by Charles FrazierA Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley CashStumbling Thru by A. Digger StolzFortune Calling by Hunter S. JonesSerena by Ron Rash
Appalachian Fiction
2nd out of 149 books — 206 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
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Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Jul 13, 2014 Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh rated it really liked it
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
Lawyer
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
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Angela M
Jan 11, 2015 Angela M rated it it was amazing


I am surprised how quickly I was drawn into this book . I didn't want to read it at first because I thought it might be a bit too dark for me and I wasn't sure if I really wanted to read a story about religious fanaticism . I'm glad I did read it in spite of the fact that this book was gut wrenching and tragic and dark and it made me just about hold my breath waiting for the inevitable to happen.

I know it may sound odd to say that this is a "readable" book but it really is . From the first word
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❀Julie
Aug 25, 2015 ❀Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This was an absolutely gripping novel that drew me in instantly with its simple yet addictive writing style. I loved the southern setting, the unforgettable characters, the intricate details, and vivid imagery that made me feel like I was right there. It was a mesmerizing story, quietly told in three distinct voices, but was not for the faint of heart. There were times it was difficult to read and I found myself holding my breath at its intensity, but also there were some beautiful passages on ...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.
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Jennifer
Feb 01, 2016 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
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 that faith, throw out their kids, cheat on husbands and wives, break up families just as quick. I don't know exactly how long Carson Chambliss had been living in Madison County the fi ...more
Cheryl
Oct 29, 2014 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Cheryl by: On The Southern Literary Trail GR Group
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.

These folks (members of River Road Church of Christ in Signs Following) do whatever Carson Chambliss, their pastor, tells them to do; like,“pick up snakes, and drink poison, hold fire up to their faces just to see if it would burn them.” C
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Will Byrnes
Apr 02, 2014 Will Byrnes rated it really liked it
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
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Diane S ⛄
May 01, 2012 Diane S ⛄ rated it it was amazing
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
Shelby *trains 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
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Jennifer Masterson
Sep 13, 2015 Jennifer Masterson rated it it was amazing
Jess Hall broke my heart into ten million tiny little pieces!

"A Land More Kind Than Home" is a beautifully written novel by Wiley Cash. It is unbelievably good, especially for a debut. This story had me hooked right away and never let go. I have a feeling little Jess will stay with me for a long time.

Set in a small Southern town it's a dark story about the power and corruption that religion can cause. Carson Chambliss is an evil preacher who comes to this town and boy is he a disgusting, vile p
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Tammy
Jul 08, 2012 Tammy rated it it was amazing
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
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Allison
Aug 03, 2012 Allison rated it it was ok
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
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Connie
Preacher Carson Chambliss is as slithery and venomous as the snakes he handles during his church services. The sign in front of the church proclaims Mark 16: 17-18: "And these signs will follow those who believe: In my name they will cast out demons, they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will place their hands on the sick, and they will get well."

The story is narrated by three members of a poor co
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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
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Larry Bassett
I have to admit that this review is a bit of a rant! But I feel that author Wiley Cash was More Kind than I can tolerate. And I want you to know so that you might think about it too. Just like the people in Madison County. Maybe you will want to be more forgiving than me.

People with strong beliefs have been known to do strange things. I can testify to this from my own firsthand experience. In this book we have religiously motivated snake handling right in the first chapter.
People out in these p
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Connie (Ava Catherine)
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.
☯Cathrine
Nov 27, 2015 ☯Cathrine rated it really liked it
4.5 and ripe for discussion at my book club meet next week. Pulled me in from the get go and really held on. Highly recommend! Will definitely read this author again. ...more
Dem
Jun 23, 2012 Dem rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Laura
Aug 20, 2015 Laura rated it really liked it
Shelves: southern
Great book, little hard on the heart strings. It may take a few days for me to see the silver lining. Loved how the story was told from three view points. Look forward to the next book by this author.
Chelsea Miller
Apr 07, 2012 Chelsea Miller rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
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
Jan 06, 2014 Paquita Maria Sanchez rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature
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
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Camie
Nov 30, 2015 Camie rated it liked it
This book is about Jess Hall and his deaf mute brother Stump growing up with their parents in Marshall, South Carolina. The two boys get caught up in several family tragedies with deadly consequences all because their mother Julie comes to admire the Pastor and his fire and brimstone church , with it's snake handling and poison taking healing rituals. Who is this Pastor Carson Chambliss, who has appeared in the midst ( with very poor credentials we find out) of this small community and made thes ...more
Pamela
Apr 08, 2012 Pamela rated it it was ok
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
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Carol
Aug 07, 2012 Carol rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, debut
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
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Eh?Eh!
Feb 26, 2013 Eh?Eh! rated it really liked it
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.
Suzy
4 1/2 stars

I have loved Southern Literature ever since Look Homeward, Angel had a profound effect on me at a young age. I loved that Cash started off the book with the closing lines of Look Homeward Angel.

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 you 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 than home, more l
...more
Noeleen
Apr 01, 2013 Noeleen rated it liked it
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
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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
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Around the Year i...: A Land More Kind Than Home, by Wiley Cash 1 8 Jan 18, 2016 12:34PM  
Bound Together: A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash 134 110 Jul 01, 2015 11:20AM  
On the Southern L...: Final Impressions, May Include Spoilers 12 67 Nov 09, 2014 08:34AM  
On the Southern L...: Members' Reviews 17 74 Oct 29, 2014 07:39AM  
On the Southern L...: Initial Impressions--No Spoilers 51 73 Oct 23, 2014 08:11AM  
On the Southern L...: Supplemental Readings 4 53 Sep 14, 2014 10:57AM  
  • The Cove
  • Lightning Bug
  • Hell at the Breech
  • The Lost Saints of Tennessee
  • In My Father's House
  • The Long Home
  • Where All Light Tends to Go
  • The Death of Sweet Mister
  • The Right-Hand Shore
  • The Clearing
  • The Tall Woman
  • Gathering of Waters
  • Strange Flesh
  • Heading Out to Wonderful
  • Last Call for the Living
  • The Last Kind Words (Terrier Rand, #1)
  • The Year of the Storm
  • A Parchment of Leaves
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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...

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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.” 25 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.” 15 likes
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