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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Debut
Born in North Carolina, raised in an evangelical church, Wiley Cash draws on his own personal experiences to produce this impressive debut novel.

One Sunday, in the oppressive Summer heat, the congregation of River Road Church take their religious fervour one step too far with devastating consequences. This compelling story, set in Madison County in 1986, is...
Published on 29 Mar 2012 by Lovely Treez

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Serious Message
Wiley Cash's novel A Land More Kind Than Home deals with serious issues, but with a very gentle voice.
Set in the South Carolina and based upon real facts, this story feels more like a historical novel than a modern-day novel. Narrated in the first person by the three lead characters, the story gently and slowly unfolds, leading to the horrific incident in the...
Published on 20 Mar 2012 by Lincs Reader


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Serious Message, 20 Mar 2012
By 
Lincs Reader (Lincolnshire, England) - See all my reviews
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Wiley Cash's novel A Land More Kind Than Home deals with serious issues, but with a very gentle voice.
Set in the South Carolina and based upon real facts, this story feels more like a historical novel than a modern-day novel. Narrated in the first person by the three lead characters, the story gently and slowly unfolds, leading to the horrific incident in the Church and the aftermath for the community and the narrators.

There is no doubt that this is story-telling at it's best, but for me, it was just a little too slow. I found my mind wandering somewhat and like other reviewers I often struggled with the author's use of language. Yes it was authentic and realistic, but the style of grammar and dialect took something away from my enjoyment of the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Debut, 29 Mar 2012
By 
Lovely Treez (Belfast, N Ireland) - See all my reviews
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Born in North Carolina, raised in an evangelical church, Wiley Cash draws on his own personal experiences to produce this impressive debut novel.

One Sunday, in the oppressive Summer heat, the congregation of River Road Church take their religious fervour one step too far with devastating consequences. This compelling story, set in Madison County in 1986, is narrated from the perspectives of three different characters - Jess Hall, nine year old brother to Christopher "Stump" whose autism hinders any verbal communication, Clem Barefield, Sheriff of Madison County for 25 years yet still considered an outsider and finally, Adelaide Lyle, elderly spinster who leads the Sunday School yet remains wary of the Pastor, Carson Chambliss.

Chambliss is a very shady character, one of those larger than life, mesmerizing preachers who rules his ingenuous congregation with a rod of iron as well as traumatising them with snakes, poison and fire - blind faith indeed... This may be the 80s but this could be the land that time forgot. There's a great sense of place as the narrative moves from present to past and back again, evoking the seasons and landscape of this timeless setting. The author also seems very much in tune with his characters, ordinary, down to earth folk who try to get by the best they can - with perhaps one glaring exception.

If you enjoy well told stories with that languid, laconic vibe you find in the best Southern fiction, you will relish this gripping, poignant tale. Looking forward to hearing more from Madison County in Wiley Cash's future novels.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A gripping tale of religion, 1 Jan 2013
By 
K. Wright - See all my reviews
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Set in a mountainous region of western North Carolina, Wiley Cash tells an extraordinary story of a young autistic boy smothered during a church service in a rural community, which is inspired by real events. The story begins with a horrific incident that a young Adelaide Lyle witnessed many years ago which led her never setting foot inside that church again. The story is then taken to the present day with Jess Hall, a nine-year-old boy who tries to find out why his older brother has been taken to the mysterious church with the covered windows. After the tragic death of Christopher 'Stump' Hall, it is down to the local sheriff, Clem Barefield, to pick up the pieces, whilst still dealing with his own past.

'A Land More Kind Than Home,' is well paced from the opening chapter as the three very different narrators take it in turns to add more to the story. I particularly liked the characters of Adelaide, a childless woman who teaches Sunday school and Jess, the confused child whose life has been turned upside down. I found the ending to be a little far-fetched and somewhat preachy and thus I have deducted a star. However, I would recommend this book and will look out for more books from Cash in future.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Religion, relationships and rattlesnakes!, 23 Feb 2012
By 
Freckles (Knaresborough, North Yorkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This extraordinary novel will certainly stir your emotions.

Set in the oppressive heat of North Carolina, the story unfolds from the viewpoint of three people. Adelaide Lyle is a force to be reckoned with. An elderly, deeply religious matriarch, she has not attended church for ten years because she strongly disagrees with the manner of pastor Carson Chambliss's teaching methods and his dubious healing practices. Instead, she teaches Sunday school to the local children at her home. Clem Barefield is the town sheriff. He's a "regular kind of guy" and a popular figurehead in the community. There is sadness in his past which links him to the family of our third character Jess Hall. Jess is just nine years old, but he has witnessed more than any child should have to.

One Sunday, he spies through a church window at a healing service which attempts to "cure" his mute, autistic older brother Christopher. He not only doesn't comprehend what he is watching, but is scared for his brother. Worse still, he is unable to tell anyone, as he knows he shouldn't have been watching. A further such healing service ends in unimaginable horror when Christopher is smothered to death. Understandably, local feelings run high and the fall out is catastrophic.

Wiley Cash has a wonderful gift of drawing you in to his novel from the first page. His understanding of personalities is first class, no mean feat when they span several generations. I loved this book. It is a pleasure to read and a debut for Cash who has a second novel in the pipeline, also set in his beloved North Carolina. I can't wait!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars horribly good, 15 Mar 2012
By 
D. Thurgood "dan.tee" (Liverpool Uk) - See all my reviews
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This is a fabulous book, but there are some caveats. It's not overly long, so the pace is good. The characters are very well fleshed out, with whole chapters devoted to the back story of 2 of the principals.

It deals with the deadly excesses of a Christian sect in a tiny rural town in the US. There was a lot for me, as a Christian, to identify with, and none of it left me feeling that the author wasn't speaking of what he knew. One small family is torn apart by a tragedy caused by the pastor of the church, and the events snowball rapidly to a climactic finish. I did feel that the ending was a little contrived and overblown, but the rest of the book is SO good that I felt that the climax didn't damage the story too much.

I have read a very similar book to this sometime ago - The Visitation by Frank E. Peretti. Both have a mysterious 'pastor' who brings turmoil and disaster to a small US town. Both these characters are out-of-towners running from disturbing pasts. This is just a comparison, not a criticism. Peretti's ends on a higher note that Cash's though.

All told, Wiley Cash (this is his debut novel) is definitely one to keep an eye on. I recommend this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Slow-burning Echo Chamber of Fear, Faith and Fortitude, 24 Feb 2013
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HeavyMetalMonty (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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Authentic dialogue should always be phonetically accurate, but Wiley Cash goes one further by making his prose phonetic, too. Initially, this grated on me, Cash's felonies against good grammar like pinpricks to my stickler's soul. After a few chapters, however, I began to hear the story unfold in a southern-American accent. I presume that Wiley Cash knows correct English but broke the rules deliberately, in order to tell his tale with a quintessentially American voice. This presumption allowed me to overlook the book's grammatical vandalism and enjoy its story, which has multi-faceted appeal.

When a young autistic boy suffers a horrific fate at the hands of a minister with a dark past, the event has long-rippling consequences. Each chapter is narrated by a different character. In this way Cash paints a complete picture of the book's microcosm, detailing pertinent events surrounding the autistic child's death. Cash's writing style is minimalist, never flashy; this suits the story. Antagonists are myriad: faith versus knowledge; forgiveness versus stubborn grudge-holding; adult delusion versus innate wisdom of children; family versus church; control by external entities versus self-control and personal autonomy. 'A Land More Kind than Home' showcases accomplished storytelling and masterful tension-building. It is a slow-burning echo chamber of fear, faith and fortitude.

A true American tale.

Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Haunting, Poignant Tale from the South, 1 Oct 2012
By 
John W. Edelman - See all my reviews
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This is a beautifully evocative book. In the reading I found myself totally entranced by the character's telling. The author, a native of North Carolina, has ably managed to convey the idiom of this region. Comparison with "To Kill A Mockingbird" is a little obvious, but has merit. Both stories tell a tale, in this case largely, rather than completely, from the viewpoint of a child, both deal with violent injustice. I loved the way that flashbacks and memories blend with and weave their way throughout the main narrative. By the end you can understand and fully empathise with the pain and regret felt by many of the characters. There is even apparent redemption for one character, ironically not through the so-called Christian church featured, or at least not in the way you would expect.
I loved this book. I must however criticise the publisher's blurb (and various reviewers here). Jess doesn't witness his brother's death. He just doesn't, and to make such a clear, incorrect statement on the back of the book is silly. In fact if the blurb had stated what actually happened; Jess witnessed a scene and reacted in a way that led to his brother's death, I think even more readers would be drawn to this wonderful book... In my humble opinion...
I look forward to more from Mr Cash with eagerness.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Shocking and compelling, 23 Aug 2012
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In "A Land More Kind Than Home", the reader is transported to the gritty, dusty landscape of the North Carolina mountains in the southern United States. The backdrop of the impoverished small-town scenes in the 'Bible belt' of the USA provides immense power to the story and the author's descriptions sent a shiver through me more than once when I was reading this novel.

The plot revolves around a Christian religious sect and the power of its pastor over the members of the cult-like church in the novel. It is disturbing to read the author's descriptions of the brainwashing of members of this sect and the story carries with it a feeling of dread for the reader. It is a very evocative tale, told through the eyes of nine-year-old Jess Hall who is one of the protagonists of the novel, but it is deeply sad and contains a mesmerizing picture of the destructive power of cult-like religion.

I gave it three stars because although Wiley Cash's writing is powerful and this is clearly a topic which Cash has experience of (either through research or experience -- the book is based on a true situation), I felt that it was too objective at times and the characters are, as another reviewer said, a little bland. However, the message of the book is shocking and compelling to read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars in the footsteps of flannery, carson, truman and harper, 21 Jun 2012
By 
David Spanswick (Brighton United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I want to add my applause for this totally brilliant debut novel by Wiley Cash proving that the great Southern novel is alive and well and still breaking boundaries in the literary field.

This surely must be an award blasting book; I have rarely read anything both so powerful and so articulate.

At its core is the most hideous crime imaginable and the narrative, through three voice,s puts it into context as well as displaying the knock on effects of it.

I doubt I will read anything else this good this year: if you read nothing else this year READ THIS
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HAUNTINGLY SAD, 9 Jun 2012
By 
Mr. D. L. Rees "LEE DAVID" (DORSET) - See all my reviews
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Madison County in North Carolina. Marshall a small mountainside community. Sinister pastor Carson Chambliss there skilfully manipulates his gullible flock. Frenzied worship involves poisons and snakes, little autistic Christopher smothered during an attempt to "heal"....

Three narrate: old ex-midwife Addie Lyle; sheriff Clem Barefield; the victim's nine year old brother Jess.

This is a novel for those unfazed if the telling takes its time. These are three clear voices, everything they describe ringing true. Inevitably when tragedy strikes, thoughts are triggered of past troubles. Addie, memories often off at a tangent but interestingly so, is reminded of the other church service death. Jabbingly the sheriff relives the loss of his son. Most movingly, Jess struggles to understand - here the loss of childhood and of innocence.

For many readers events here may haunt for a while. I read at one sitting - angered by the false prophet, saddened by the harm caused. Evil had entered the community and led it astray. What hope now for those afflicted?

Recommended.
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