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 in this particular book considering all the parallel story lines. I was most intrigued by the subject matter, some of which concerned the place of organized religion in our lives. John Meachem, on CHARLIE ROSE recently, addressed the issue of whether religion should be in the hands of the religious. How timely an answer is A LAND MORE KIND THAN HOME! This is an absolutely worthwhile read. Please highly consider it.
Brenda S. (Forest Hill, MD)
A Land More Kind Than Home
A Land More Kind Than Home is one of the best stories I have read in some time. It definitely is a "waking up with dark circles" worthy book to read!
I like how the author chose to tell the story from three different voices - the young son, Jess, the sheriff of the small town; Clem, and Adelaide; a neighbor who knows everyone and pretty much everything that is going on in this town - she helps the people in this town in many ways - she is the town midwife, watches the children at the church on Sundays, and offers her home to others.
This story is a heartwrenching story about a dysfunctional town in the mountainous region of North Carolina and a young family that lives there. Having two sons of my own and also having taught 9 year olds, I wanted to just enter the story to give a big hug to console Jess, the son with so much sadness and worry upon his young shoulders.
Wiley Cash through his phenomenal use of descriptive words was able to make me feel like I knew the characters personally and provided a visual for me to imagine the setting.
I especially loved the part when Jess gets the quiet box that belonged to Stump and finds the items inside that brought peace to his brother.
I am so angry that a so-called pastor could manipulate the people in the town to believe that what they were doing was for the good. What were they thinking? Who would want to attend a church that actually covers the windows so that outsiders aren't allowed to look in. It brings back memories of that group of people in Jonestown that drank poison and lost their lives because Reverend Jim Jones told them to do so.
Wiley Cash needs to take a bow because I give him a standing ovation for his beautifully written debut novel. I highly recommend that you add this book to your list to read!
V. W. (Chapel Hill, North Carolina)
A Land More Kind Than Home
This was a very enjoyable book. It reminded me of other books I have read that involved rural, mountain people however the plot was a gripping and emotional one. The author was able to masterfully tell his story through the narration of three characters: a young boy forced to grow up too rapidly, an old woman who was wise but lacked the power to totally intervene, and the sheriff who was an outsider in the community committed to doing what is right but with his own past sorrows.
I think that this would make a very good book club book as it would spark intense discussion of a variety of themes concerning religion, family, love, and loss.
Catherine H. (Nashua, NH)
Up in the mountains...
I honestly was not sure if I was going to like that book, each chapter being told by the main characters was kind of confusing for me but in the end, I truly enjoyed the book. The story was excellent, the tension building chapter after chapter, the characters. Very much recommended.
Marion C. (Litchfield, NH)
A Land More Kind Than Home
A Land More Kind Than Home is a line from You Can’t Go Home Again by Thomas Wolfe, that reflects the thread in this novel. It is a painful tale of courage and bravery in the face of cruelty. In the early 1900s, the town of Marshall was a small crossroad in Madison County in western North Carolina. Tobacco is about the only product that grows there and people live a simple but poor and rugged life. They have their farms and their faith to sustain them, and live by the adage: Protect your own and do not snoop.
A Land More Kind Than Home is written from the first-person point-of-view. Each character reiterates what happened in their past and the struggles they are having in the community now. The characters are Adelaide Lyle, the town midwife; Clem Barefield, sheriff for Madison County; and Jess Hall, a curious boy of seven with many questions.
This is Cash’s first novel. I found it a delight to read and felt right at home in Marshall. I look forward to Wiley Cash’s second and subsequent books.
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.