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 and precocious, Jess is enormously 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 catastrophic repercussions, shattering both his world and Jess's. It's a wrenching event that thrusts Jess into an adulthood for which he's not prepared. While there is much about the world that still confuses him, he now knows that a new understanding can bring not only a growing danger and evil - but also the possibility of freedom and deliverance as well.
Told by three resonant and evocative characters - Jess; Adelaide Lyle, the town midwife and moral conscience; and Clem Barefield, a sheriff with his own painful past - A Land More Kind Than Home is a haunting tale of courage in the face of cruelty and the power of love to overcome the darkness that lives in us all. These are masterful portrayals, written with assurance and truth, and they show us the extraordinary promise of this remarkable first novel.
With 31 out of 32 reviewers rating it 4 or 5 stars, Wiley Cash's debut, A Land More Kind Than Home, is a top pick among BookBrowse readers! Here's what they have to say:
A Land More Kind Than Home is, without a doubt, one of absolute BEST books that I have read. It is so compelling... so beautifully written, I found myself going over most of it twice - once for the gripping story and again for the language. His words are just so mesmerizing (Debra C). Included in the mix: snake handling, a church closed off to the public with paper on the windows, a child caught in the midst of adult drama, and a sheriff fighting demons of his own. Wiley Cash is able to create a tension that both enthralls and exasperates (Becky M). The writing is exceptional; the descriptions, evocative of time and place; the voices, pitch perfect. From the first sentence, this was a book I couldn't put down. It is an amazing first novel (Dorothy M). Do yourself a favor and read this book! It's a must-read and a story that I will not soon forget (Daniel A). (Reviewed by BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers).
The languid atmosphere seduces, and Cash's fine first effort pulls the reader into a shadowy, tormented world where wolves prowl in the guise of sheep.
An evocative work about love, fate and redemption.
Starred Review. As lyrical, beautiful, and uncomplicated as the classic ballads of Appalachia, Cash's first novel is a tragic story of misplaced faith and love gone wrong... In a style reminiscent of Tom Franklin and John Hart, Cash captures the reader's imagination.
Gail Godwin, author of Evensong and The Finishing School A Land More Kind Than Home has great cumulative power. Before I knew it I was grabbed by the ankle and pulled down into a full-blown Greek tragedy. I didn't sleep well after I finished it because I kept thinking. All childhoods are not the same. Cruelty and innocence dwell together and always will. I can just imagine the intense work - and the love - that has gone into this.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Becky H A LAND MORE KIND THAN HOME Wiley Cash has a way with words. He can make you see a rain storm or love with equal clarity. In A LAND MORE KIND THAN HOME he has written a beautiful elegy for love and death, faith and fear, condemnation and redemption. Told in three very... Read More
Rated of 5
by Louise J Couldn't Put It Down! The author did an excellent job at conveying to the reader the emotions that people show when they’re riled up and in the spirit of the moment and how things can be over-looked when caught up in the emotion packed moment of loud music, hand... Read More
Rated of 5
by Diane S. A Land More Kind Than Home 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... Read More
Rated of 5
by Carmen S. (Elkins, Arkansas) You won't be able to put it down A gripping well told story with memorable characters that you won't be able to put down. Some of these characters will haunt you.
Rated of 5
by Sunni W. (Hilton Head Island, SC) What's Not to Like Although this turned out not to be the kind of book I ordinarily would read, it is an interesting read and characters are well-developed. For me, there's a lack of riveting events to hold my attention, so I wouldn't label it a "can't put it down"... Read More
Rated of 5
by Kathleen W. (New Brighton,, MN) What goes around comes around or be careful what you wish for! I completed A LAND MORE KIND THAN HOME a few weeks ago and have thought about it extensively EVER SINCE. This novel is full of metaphors which I love. I also find the strategy of different character chapter narrators to be especially effective... Read More
In a letter to readers, Wiley Cash describes what it was like working with the inspirational Ernest J. Gaines at a fiction workshop in Lafayette, Louisiana. He writes:
I began writing A Land More Kind Than Home while working on my Ph.D. at the University of Louisiana, where I spent five long years sweating, celebrating Mardi Gras, and missing the mountains of North Carolina. While living in Lafayette, I took a fiction workshop with Ernest J. Gaines, who taught me that by writing about home I could recreate that place no matter where I lived. Gaines made this clear to me one afternoon while we were visiting an old cemetery near the plantation where he was born. He pointed to a grave marker and said, "You remember Snookum from A Gathering of Old Men? He's buried right over there." While none of the characters in A Land More Kind Than Home are based on people who actually existed, they're all amalgams of the types of people I knew growing up. In creating these people and the place they live I got to watch the sun split the mist on...
Named for a flower whose blood-red sap possesses the power both to heal and poison, Bloodroot is a stunning fiction debut about the legaciesof magic and madness, faith and secrets, passion and lossthat haunt one family across the generations, from the Great Depression to today.
After being narrowly acquitted of a murder charge, Adam Chase is hounded out of the only home hes ever known, exiled for a sin he did not commit. For five long years he disappears. Now hes back and nobody knows why, not his family or the cops, not the enemies he left behind.
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