Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Land More Kind Than Home” as Want to Read:
A Land More Kind Than Home
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview
Read Excerpt* *Different edition

A Land More Kind Than Home

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  13,300 ratings  ·  2,227 reviews
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 repercus ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published April 17th 2012 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 2012)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Land More Kind Than Home, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

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)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details

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
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Jul 13, 2014 Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
A Land More Kind Than Home: The Debut Novel of Wiley Cash

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
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.
Angela M

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
Oct 29, 2014 Cheryl rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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
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.

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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
4.5 stars 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.
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!

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
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!
JoAnne Pulcino

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
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
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
It takes a special kind of book for me to get over the first-person voice— double that for a nine-year-old’s first person voice— and this just wasn’t it. None of it sounded right or real. I grew up around this area, and around these churches (we were Pentecostal Holiness; not quite “Signs Following”) and still the story never came to life. It’s problematic when your nine-year-old kid, your elderly spinster, and your wise old sheriff have indistinguishable voices. I know these people, and it didn ...more
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
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.

« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Bound Together: A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash 134 108 Jul 01, 2015 11:20AM  
On the Southern L...: Final Impressions, May Include Spoilers 12 66 Nov 09, 2014 08:34AM  
On the Southern L...: Members' Reviews 17 73 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 52 Sep 14, 2014 10:57AM  
  • One Foot in Eden
  • Hell at the Breech
  • Lightning Bug
  • Provinces of Night
  • In My Father's House
  • The Tall Woman
  • Where All Light Tends to Go
  • The Clearing
  • Last Call for the Living
  • Heading Out to Wonderful
  • The Homecoming of Samuel Lake
  • The Lost Saints of Tennessee
  • The Right-Hand Shore
  • Gathering of Waters
  • Southern Cross the Dog
  • Cataloochee
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 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. Fate Moreland's Widow: A Novel (Story River Books) Fate Moreland's Widow

Share This Book

“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
More quotes…