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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2012 Wiley Cash (P)2012 HarperCollinsPublishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Good southern summer read

If you could sum up A Land More Kind Than Home in three words, what would they be?

Hellfire and brimstone

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Land More Kind Than Home?

The encounter between the sheriff and Chamblis in the barn.

What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The story is told from three different point of views with three narrators. This definitely added to the story with the accents and tones.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It made me sad to think good people could be so lost as to follow someone who is not good.

Any additional comments?

Highly recommended summer read!

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  • Story

Excellent!

I really enjoyed this book. Great story, kept my interest from the start, the narration was spot on. Looking forward to other books by this author.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Jacque
  • Lander, WY, United States
  • 07-25-15

Rough draft of a good book

This is worth reading. But I think the book could have benefitted from some further editing. Loved the characters and most of the narration.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great Story. Terrible Casting for Narration.

Tragic story told with lyrical brilliance by Cash. My only complaint is that the narrator who portrays Jess is tortuous to listen to. Nearly made me quit listening all together. Being a southerner, it's very hard for me to listen to a faux southern accent. Especially one as bad as he (Bramhall?) uses. He sounds like the only southern voice he has heard was Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump. I would have preferred he not try to do an accent at all. The writing, however, is made to present southern dialect. I'm just not sure why they didn't cast a native southerner for the role.

The other two do a decent job, the Sheriff being the better of the two.

Still worth buying. The storyline outweighs these faults.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Slow going

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

There was a very thin story here, padded out with too much descriptive prose.

Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

Mark Bramhill did an exceptional job as the sheriff.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Honestly, I was very disappointed in the story after so many positive reviews.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great narration makes story come alive

What made the experience of listening to A Land More Kind Than Home the most enjoyable?

This is narrated (with correct western NC accents) by several people. I think it's one of the few times the listening experience (which I NEED) comes close to being as good or better than reading.

Would you recommend A Land More Kind Than Home to your friends? Why or why not?

Yes. The 3 main characters are well crafted. Some of the others are not as well defined. For example, we don't know whether the grandfather will end up a good parent figure and tobacco farmer or not since he's still drinking pretty hard. It's fairly exciting. There are some loose ends. For example, at one point, Jess worries that Mr. Thompson will tell his mother Jess was peeking in through the church boards. THAT didn't happen. Where are the editors in these things? There is also a digression about the preacher sending the devil out of a sick woman, and the devil runs into a barn which the farmer then chooses to burn down. The POINT of the author is to show the amount of power preachers and religion can have on people (not just in NC), but this small digression should have been omitted because it brings in too many characters we meet only for that sequence and is thus confusing.

What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Superlative narration.

If you could rename A Land More Kind Than Home, what would you call it?

This title indicates Heaven, and the author comes across as having tons of doubts about Christianity so I don't know why he chose this title. I think he just found it handy--it's from Thomas Wolfe's You Can't Go Home Again. This is a good FIRST novel. I was an English teacher so am used to 5 points off here, 5 points off there, and can be pretty critical:)<br/>

Any additional comments?

I'm in SW VA, and my dozen or so ladies in book club all are well read and found this book to be very much worth the read.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Nice story, but not great -- somewhat formulaic

While I enjoyed this book, it wasn't real moving for me. The plot arc was fairly conventional, even predictable. The characters somewhat typical, with none being truly lovable. The book is read by a few readers--some good, others less so.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Reader Beware-A child is murdered

This is the story of two brothers growing up in small town North Carolina. Jess is the younger brother to Christopher, a mute. One day while spying, they see something they should not. Christopher is caught spying which turns out to be a catalyst that leads to his death, due to their mother buying in to the local "snake charming" preachers ways.

The death crushes Jess and his father, but the boys mother appears to not have an interest in continuing to mother her children, choosing, instead, to run off with the preacher, who happens to be evil incarnate and possibly even a psychopath. Another fine example of people being led astray when they hunger for something more out of life.

This is a tough story to take and it will not be for everybody, because a child dies for seeing something they should not.

1 of 5 people found this review helpful

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AWFUL

What would have made A Land More Kind Than Home better?

It was way too wordy!! I found myself becoming so irritated with the continuous minutiae that filled every single chapter in this book!

What was most disappointing about Wiley Cash’s story?

It was a total waste of time!!

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from A Land More Kind Than Home?

The author wasted my time! I felt insulted by all the fluff he added to each chapter to tell the story! It was painful to listen to!

Any additional comments?

I absolutely hated this book!

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Purty good debut

This is Wiley Cash's first novel and a pretty good one at that. Maybe not so good as Fred Chappell or Clyde Edgerton say it is--and they should know--but pretty good. The narration is good, especially the voices and accents of Lorna Raver and Mark Bramhall. And the story is fine, though I didn't find the main evil character, Reverend Chambliss, believable and Jess is only nine years old, not a teenager (as other reviewers have noticed). Worth a listen, but only once. And this is not Cold Mountain, which I consider a good thing, despite Cold Mountain's being a bit more gripping.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful