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A Land More Kind Than Home

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  18,585 Ratings  ·  2,797 Reviews
A mesmerizing literary thriller about the bond between two brothers and the evil they face in a small western North Carolina town.

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.

Hardcover, 320 pages
Published April 17th 2012 by William Morrow
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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)
James Cogbill It's likely set in the 1980's, based upon Adelaide's recollections of moving to Marshall in 1920 and that about 60 years have elapsed since then (pg.…moreIt's likely set in the 1980's, based upon Adelaide's recollections of moving to Marshall in 1920 and that about 60 years have elapsed since then (pg. 189).(less)

Community Reviews

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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
Mar 23, 2013 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
Will Byrnes
Apr 02, 2012 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
Angela M
Oct 14, 2014 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
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
“and I can tell you God makes us how he needs us to be.”
― Wiley Cash, A Land More Kind Than Home

What was there to do for Clem Barefield, the sheriff for twenty-five years of Marshville, in Madison County, with pastor Carson Chambliss, who ran his church like he was Jesus Christ himself, had a following that would believe in his message to their deaths, and a church with windows covered in newspapers, and his idea of religion that was like a drug to these souls."People out in these parts can tak
Mar 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Beautifully written book, debut of this writer, a real recommendation from my part. Yes, the book is a slow read, not really pacy story, but that did not bother me at all, all the more does the beauty of the story, the atmosphere and the writing come through. I loved the change of narrator and story line per chapter. And you really feel the tension and atmosphere drifting from the pages.
A Land More Kind than Home tells the story of the bond between two young brothers and the evil they face in a
Apr 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: public-library
What the mute boy sees is unspeakable; what goes on behind the covered windows in that church is unforgivable.

How many times have we been told that life isn't fair? 'I've learned to just go ahead and take fairness out of the equation. If you do, things stand the chance of making a whole lot more sense.' Wise words from Sheriff Clem Barefield, Madison County, North Carolina.

Addie Lyle, 81 years old and is as sharp as a tack. She sees right through the viperous Carson Chambliss, preacher of the
Apr 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Snakes on Montane

Right after reading this in June 2012, I wrote a long review, which I apparently deleted by accident.

I waver between 4 and 5 stars. I'd say 4.4. A Land More Kind Than Home was a powerful novel illustrating the constant conflict in the deep South (in so-called "fundamentalists") between the nature of humans as Sinners and the hellfire, brimstone and eternal damnation of the soul for violating the strictures of the Word. A sex-related sin infringing on a marriage triggers nearly
Jul 02, 2015 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
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.

Diane S ☔
Jan 27, 2012 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
Jan 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
Wiley Cash is a master storyteller, and this book is indeed evidence of that.

It would be all too easy to give away spoilers by accident, so I'll just say that this book is deep, complex and thought-provoking. It's about something that most books don't talk about, which is how easy it is to manipulate someone, even to the point where they override their own parental instincts and put their loved ones in imminent danger.

It's written from the pov of a 13 year-old boy, a devout Christian woman in he
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.
Nov 30, 2015 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
Jennifer Masterson
Jul 13, 2015 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
Jan 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So sad and touching but wonderfully written.
Oct 26, 2014 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
Apr 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Cheri by: Will Byrnes
This book was on my list for some time, and when I saw that Wiley Cash has a new book coming out, I moved this up to next on my list and am glad that I did.
One of my oldest friends lives not too far from where this story takes place, and I've been there often enough to have spent time in an area where you see more churches than you can count. (My favorite is still "The Church of Bob.")

With a less-than-pure preacher behind the story, some too-curious-for-their-own-good children and a few no-non
Feb 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
How could I not have known Wiley Cash existed until a few months ago? A Land More Kind Than Home takes place in Madison County where my dad was born! My dad died in an automobile accident when I was young, so most of my memories of Madison County go back to before I turned 12 years old, but I was immediately transported back to those country roads and the tobacco farm he grew up on, the minute I started reading this book.

I savored every page of Cash's lyrical storytelling. He did an excellent j
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
To the list of great southern writers, we will need to add the name Wiley Cash.

Cash’s 2012 novel A Land More Kind Than Home weaves together many ubiquitous themes of Southern Literature into a page turning, masterfully crafted story of family, loss and redemption.

I’ve always thought that the best of Southern writing uses the same themes common to country and western music and what better place to catalogue such themes than Steve Goodman’s song as sung by David Allen Coe –“You Never Even Call Me
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
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
Jul 06, 2012 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
Aug 03, 2012 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
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 ☯️
Feb 13, 2015 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.
May 01, 2012 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
Jun 18, 2013 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.
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
For this reader, Wiley Cash's A Land More Kind Than Home was difficult at the start to become lost in, but after about thirty or so pages, the story captured my attention.

The novel is about people in the North Carolina mountains and alternates between a handful of primary characters to tell the story. Rather than one main character, each character in the chapters describes pivotal events until the story is told.

It is hard to fully divulge the full plot because that would entail spoilers. While
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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 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.” 28 likes
“But since then I've learned to just go ahead and take fairness out of the equation. If you do, things stand the chance of making a whole lot more sense.” 17 likes
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