- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Black Swan (28 Mar. 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0552778206
- ISBN-13: 978-0552778206
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.1 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 438,483 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
A Land More Kind Than Home Paperback – 28 Mar 2013
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"Mesmerizing. Intensely felt and beautifully told" (New York Times)
"I guarantee you will be thinking about this novel for days after you have finished the final page. This novel flexes its muscles and with breath-taking prose delivers a punch worthy of Mohammed Ali" (Crimesquad.com)
"Electrifying debut" (Financial Times)
"One of the most powerful novels I have ever read" (Fred Chappell, author of I AM ONE OF YOU FOREVER and BRIGHTEN THE CORNER WHERE YOU ARE)
"I think this could be the beginning of a long, fruitful career" (Ernest J. Gaines, author of A LESSON BEFORE DYING and THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MISS JANE PITTMAN)
Winner of the John Creasey 'New Blood' Award 2012 - set in the American south where a young boy witnesses the murder of his young brother.See all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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!
'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.
Nine-year-old Jess witnesses a "healing" of his older brother Stump in the local church. This is not a church in the traditional sense, as we Brits understand it, but a store-front church.....quite common in certain isolated parts of America. Pastor Chambliss, who performs the "healing" has a hold over the people of this small town in the middle of nowhere....again quite a common occurrence; obviously Mr Cash makes him a thoroughly repellent man with a dubious past, but fails to develop the character to show how manipulative he is.
The story is narrated by each of the three main characters.....Jess, Adelaide Lyle (an elderly woman who acts as midwife and child carer), and Clem Barefield (the local sheriff with his own tragic past). The problem I had with it is the lack of emotion and depth. There is little to tell us even when this story takes place - it could be the 50's or the 80's, but my guess is it's actually nearer the 80's. We are not told what disability Stump suffers from, other than the reference to autism on the back cover of the book. There is a lot of detail about what the characters do and see, but now how they actually feel, so it's difficult to relate to any of them. I think the author grabbed hold of the idea of writing a book after he was presented with a news story involving the death of a child during a healing service, and bingo, the idea was born.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is the first novel that I've read by Wiley Cash and I believe it is the debut novel from him. It does read like someone exploring their writing technique, so I'd like to see... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Patricia M. Straughan
One of the worst first chapters I've ever read. A woman sits in a park telling us about some characters we've never seen and have no reason to care about. Read morePublished on 6 April 2015 by Ed James
A brilliant story but a little drawn out towards the endPublished on 13 Feb. 2015 by Marianne Ayoubi
This is amazing- one of the best books I have ever read. The writing from the young characters is spot on in tone, and following the introduction of the preacher there is an... Read morePublished on 6 Feb. 2014 by Andrew Nye
The death of the boy, Stump, a mute, in a small rural town is on the one hand poignant because it happens at a Christian healing service but also because it causes family to be... Read morePublished on 29 Jun. 2013 by Supernova42
Authentic dialogue should always be phonetically accurate, but Wiley Cash goes one further by making his prose phonetic, too. Read morePublished on 24 Feb. 2013 by HeavyMetalManitou
Loved it. Well written, felt like I was in the Deep South. Chilling story line, very believable characters, surprised its not yet a film.Published on 22 Jan. 2013 by tracy joyce