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

A Land More Kind Than Home

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  23,802 ratings  ·  3,323 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 a
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published April 17th 2012 by William Morrow
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 he…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

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  23,802 ratings  ·  3,323 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of A Land More Kind Than Home
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
By the end of this incredibly shocking and moving novel, words had left me. This is one of those rare times where I had to sleep on a story before I could write my review; to recover myself with a solid return to my own life from the one I had been living while reading this book.

This story is told by three narrators, and as each takes over from the last, alternating throughout the chapters, the plot advances and we come to know all the people involved in this story:

Adelaide Lyle: a woman in her
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
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
Mar 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
A Land More Kind than Home by Wiley Cash is a 2012 William Morrow publication.

Deeply affecting and very impressive debut novel-

Death is to lose the earth you know, for greater knowing; to lose the life you have, for a greater life; to leave the friends you loved, for greater loving; to find a land more kind than home, more large than earth-Thomas Wolfe-

This book fits into both of my 2020 reading challenges, which is to read authors I haven’t tried yet and reading books everyone has read but
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.

Wiley Cash - image from his FB profile

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 p
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
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
Brenda - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
4.5 stars rounded up

A Land More Kind Than Home is a daring, haunting, and heartfelt story of courage and the bond between two brothers. I could feel the evil slithering in this story that left me feeling a little uncomfortable. The love and bond between Jess Hall and his brother warmed my heart but my guard was up for the evil hiding behind the face of what should be good and safe.

Wiley Cash creates the strongest narrators here for me with these complicated and troubled characters, allowing me t
Sep 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those interested in Southern Literature, particularly in Appalachian settings
Recommended to Lawyer by: Jake Reiss, Owner, The Alabama Booksmith
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 mo
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
“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
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
I just can’t read a book about a preacher that is a snake charmer. Way too much for me. So I’m not giving this book a rating. Tried to get back to it twice, but couldn’t make it through.

This author is very well liked by Goodreads friends. I do have his The Last Ballad to read that I got on a Kindle deal. I do want to give this author another chance.

I am a definite fan of Southern lit (Franklin, Hart, Joy, and Smith).
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
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
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
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 ...more
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
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.

Jan 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So sad and touching but wonderfully written.
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
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
Shelves: favorites
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
Oct 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Cheryl by: On The Southern Literary Trail GR Group
Shelves: 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.

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.”
Connie G
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
Apr 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully told sad tale, all the more so for the reader being able to see exactly where it will all end.
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recommend
This is a remarkable debut novel by Wiley Cash. It's the story of a small town in NC where a church is run by a charismatic pastor who uses snakes and poisons to make his congregation "prove" their faith. Sometimes this goes terribly wrong. But this doesn't seem to bother the congregants. They help him cover it up.

Adelaide Lyle, an elderly woman, is appalled by this, and refuses to attend church, and insists that the town's children be kept from the church, much to the pastor's displeasure.
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Where All Light Tends to Go
  • Above the Waterfall
  • The World Made Straight
  • Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter
  • The Cove
  • One Foot in Eden
  • Burning Bright
  • The Weight of This World
  • The Risen
  • Nothing Gold Can Stay: Stories
  • When These Mountains Burn
  • Saints at the River
  • What You Have Left (Turner, #1-3)
  • This Tender Land
  • Jim the Boy
  • The Outlaw Album
  • Hell at the Breech
  • If the Creek Don't Rise
See similar books…
Wiley Cash is theNew York Times best selling author of The Last Ballad, A Land More Kind than Home, and This Dark Road to Mercy (William Morrow/HarperCollins). He currently serves as the writer-in-residence at the University of North Carolina-Asheville and teaches in the Mountainview Low-Residency MFA. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and their two young daughters. Please visit wileycash.c ...more

Related Articles

  Mateo Askaripour is a Brooklyn-based writer whose debut novel, Black Buck—which Colson Whitehead calls a “mesmerizing novel, executing a high...
71 likes · 8 comments
“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.” 31 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.” 20 likes
More quotes…