Mona B. (Phoenix, Arizona)
a land more kind than home
What a delightful book to review. Wiley Cash writes with such clarity that, as you turn the pages, you step into beautiful North Carolina, a place where life flows by at a much slower pace and the past holds a deeper more meaningful memory in the hearts and minds of a small-town people. The story is narrated by three people: Jess Hall, a young boy whose autistic brother dies as a result of a church "healing", Adelaide Lyle, an aged motherly woman trying to stay true to her backwoods up-bringing, while glimpsing the darkness at the heart of the church, and Clem Barefield, the sheriff, whose own personal tragedy colors his attempt to deal with the situation. Among these three, the other characters are interwoven to evoke all the powerful emotions displayed in this wonderful novel. This book would make an excellent choice for a reading club as each reader's perception would depend on their own personal background and life experiences. If you want something to read with a fresh new atmosphere, do try this book!
Steve B. (Spring, TX)
Writing At Its Best – Religion At Its Worst
This first novel by Wiley Cash is exceptional. The story is set in the mountains of North Carolina and explores the lives of mountain folks both isolated by geography and drawn together by a church led by a pastor who deals in snake handling and adultery with his parishioners. The effect of this charlatan on the lives of his parishioners, their families and on the community is devastating and finally tragic.
I was captivated by the characters’ varied circumstances and personalities. Those that appear good have evil undersides and the grandfather that has led a rather despicable life is called upon to be the sole support for the innocent young victim when he is left with no one else. The author’s portrayal is so compelling that I can’t help but think about the surviving characters and wondering what the future held for them. Perhaps we will find out in subsequent works by this fine author.
Margaret M. (Troy, NY)
A Land More Kind Than Home
I loved this book and it is one of the best I have read this year. It is literary and a page turning thriller at the same time. This powerful novel is about is about love, tragedy, betrayal, redemption and healing. I would recommend this book to my book group and to anyone who appreciates good books.
Viqui G. (State College, PA)
A Land More Kind Than Home
This fine novel is a real page turner. The well written prose just flows so easily that it is easy to read and hard to put down. Wiley Cash has created unforgettable characters that are multidimensional. The 3 main characters tell a story that is horrendously tragic yet believable. But along with the main plot, we also learn about the past lives of these characters. Through them we also learn of the background stories of some of the other residents of Marshall, North Carolina.
This helps to explain why the tragic outcome of the novel was inevitable. I particularly liked that the novel is written in first person narrative. In this way the reader really gets to know the characters intimately. This would be a grand novel for a book club, there is a lot to discuss!
I will certainly be recommending it to my book club.
Carrie W. (Arcanum, OH)
I rather enjoyed this book. The depth of the characters was revealed as the book continued on. The book appealed to me because I grew up in a very small town where everyone knew everyone. And everyone's business!
Teresa R. (Evansville, IN)
Loved this book- loved the author's writing style, loved the haunting story. I could barely put it down - just had to see what would happen next. Would highly recommend this for lovers of Southern fiction - it is deep, dark, and haunting.
Bette C. (Taunton, MA)
Beautifully written but hard to follow.
The language of this book is evocative and the setting and characterizations felt authentic but I found the character development slow and the narrative difficult to follow. Dividing the story telling between different narrators is not an unusual literary tool, but in this instance the transitions derailed the progress of the story and made it difficult for me to follow the narrative and develope any affinity for the characters.
I really wanted to like this book but in the end I could not get past the mechanics of the telling to just enjoy the story.