Sharon Bolton's Reviews > A Land More Kind Than Home

A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Jun 27, 2012

liked it
Read on June 29, 2012

"He said they’d speak in tongues, heal each other, talk about the Devil like he lived next door."

Wiley Cash’s debut novel struck an immediate chord, taking me back to the early days of my writing career when I researched charismatic religions for my second book, Awakening, and discovered the wonderfully weird, Church of God With Signs Following.

With its origins in the Appalacian Mountains of the southern US states, the Church of God… practices that the power of the Lord will protect true believers from all harm. In his name, worshippers drink poison, pass through fire and handle venomous snakes.

Despite the delicious irony that, to this day, most snake handlers in the Appalacians die from snake bite, this and similar Pentecostal sects grab a tight hold of small, isolated communities. This book, to some extent Awakening too, are about the damage that an untethered access to zealous religious practices can do.

A young mute boy, Christopher Hall, has been smothered to death during a church service. In the chapters that follow, Christopher’s brother, Jess, an elderly lady of the parish, and the town sheriff, a man with demons of his own, try to piece together events leading up to the tragedy, The sheriff in particular, and to some extent the reader, want to reach some understanding of the sinister grip the charismatic preacher, Carson Chambliss, holds over the town.

The book is extremely well written with an authentic voice. Wiley Cash is above averagely talented, even for a published author. For me, though, and for a number of other reviewers I’ve read, A Land More Kind Than Home lacked something. Other than a passing sympathy for the nine year old narrator, no real emotional connection was made from start to finish. It lacked heart, it lacked depth, it lacked the hard kick in the guts a book like this should deliver. Where it should have made me weep, it just left rather a nasty taste.

(Close to four stars, in fairness, because of the quality of the writing and the originality of the idea)

2 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read A Land More Kind Than Home.
Sign In »

No comments have been added yet.