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A Land More Kind Than Home [Kindle Edition]

Wiley Cash
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (686 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.99
Kindle Price: $8.99
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Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers

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Book Description

“Bold, daring, graceful, and engrossing.”
—Bobbie Ann Mason

“This book will knock your socks off….A first novel that sings with talent.”
—Clyde Edgerton

In his phenomenal debut novel—a mesmerizing literary thriller about the bond between two brothers and the evil they face in a small North Carolina town—author Wiley Cash displays a remarkable talent for lyrical, powerfully emotional storytelling. A Land More Kind than Home is a modern masterwork of Southern fiction, reminiscent of the writings of John Hart (Down River), Tom Franklin (Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter), Ron Rash (Serena), and Pete Dexter (Paris Trout)—one that is likely to be held in the same enduring esteem as such American classics as To Kill a Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men, and A Separate Peace. A brilliant evocation of a place, a heart-rending family story, a gripping and suspenseful mystery—with A Land More Kind than Home, a major American novelist enthusiastically announces his arrival.

Editorial Reviews Review

Author One-on-One: Wiley Cash and Adriana Trigiani

Adriana TrigianiWiley Cash

Bestselling author Adriana Trigiani's most recent books include the novels The Shoemaker's Wife and Brava, Valentine She lives with her husband and daughter in Greenwich Village.

Adriana Trigiani: First and foremost I’d like to congratulate you on the success of your debut novel, A Land More Kind Than Home. As a writer, I know that inspiration can come from many different places— a quote, a childhood experience, the sky is the limit. What inspired you to write this novel?

Wiley Cash: Thanks, Adriana. I’d like to congratulate you on the success of The Shoemaker’s Wife. The inspiration for this novel kind of found me. In the fall of 2003 I left North Carolina and moved to Lafayette, Louisiana, to attend graduate school. One night, in a class on African-American literature, my professor brought in a news story about a young African-American boy with autism who was smothered in a healing service on the south side of Chicago. I found the story incredibly tragic, but I was also interested in a community of believers that would literally believe something to death. I felt compelled to tell this boy’s story and the story of the community surrounding him.

AT:Truth be told, I’m a big fan of the ’80s—big hair, some of the best music of all time—what’s not to like! Why did you choose to set your novel during this era? Do you see this particular time period as having an important resonance for contemporary America?

WC: The easiest answer is that Jess Hall, one of my three narrators, is nine years old in 1986. I was nine in 1986, and it was easy for me to remember how I viewed the world as a nine year old. But I soon realized that the ’80s were a very complicated decade, and I have clear memories of trying to make sense of a lot of the things that I was seeing and hearing at church, at school, and at home.

When I sat down to write A Land More Kind Than Home I recalled how things seemed in the church and in the community when I was a kid, and I balanced that seeming against the reality of being. This conflict between seeming and being—not just in churches but in families as well—is what drives much of the novel.

AT: One of the things I love most about this novel is that it’s told from very different perspectives—from a young boy to a woman in her eighties to a middle-aged sheriff. As readers can see from your author photo you don’t fit any of these criteria. Did you find it difficult to write from such different viewpoints?

WC: At first it was difficult to imagine the role each of these narrators would play in the novel. As I grew to know these characters better, I realized that each possessed a particular knowledge about the tragedy involving the young boy, and I understood that each of them viewed it from a very different perspective. This story belongs to the community, and I had to let the community tell it.

AT: I’m a huge fan of book clubs. In my mind, there’s nothing better than getting together to discuss your favorite book over a glass of wine. Are there any particular themes that book clubs might enjoy exploring in your book?

WC: I think book clubs are wonderful too, and there are a lot of issues in A Land More Kind Than Home for book clubs to discuss: the power of faith, community responsibility, family secrets, marriage and infidelity. A lot of book clubs have wanted to talk about the role of the boys’ mother in the novel: Was she a good mother who believed her son could be healed, or was she a bad mother who invited tragedy upon her family?


"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 "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 "Electrifying debut" Financial Times "Cash's debut novel (A Land More Kind Than Home) is a chilling descent into the world of religious frenzy in small town North Carolina. 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." Publishers' Weekly

Product Details

  • File Size: 755 KB
  • Print Length: 325 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; Reprint edition (April 17, 2012)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005Z0PYH4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,976 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
53 of 53 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What Evil Lurks March 5, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a southern saga of a small North Carolina town where a minister has brought healing to a church. The church's windows have been covered in newspaper, which immediately foreshadows dark secrets within. With the healing minister comes evil and A LAND MORE KIND THAN HOME is the account of how that evil effects one family in particular.

The narrative is told in four voices: A ten year old boy (Jess), his father, the sheriff and an old wise woman who was the first to recognize the evil. The centerpiece of the novel is a twelve year old mute boy, Jess's older brother, nick-named "Stump". Despite the efforts of Jess and the old lady to protect Stump and the love of his father and mother, things go awry for the boy and all the characters have to deal with it.

All of the characters are compelling. The boys' grandfather joins the cast about half-way into the story and brings the sheriff and the plot full circle. Must the past repeat itself? Is there redemption? The novel could be a book club gold mine.

This is a very well-written compelling book filled with raw emotions that only familial love and fanatic religion can bring. The characters, especially the narrators are very memorable. Just a warning: there are not a lot of smiles.
Highly recommended. This may be the kind of book that sticks so well that upon reflection, I'd give it five stars.
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155 of 167 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I finished this wonderful novel last night & it is still on my mind. I can't stop thinking about it. It will be on my mind for a long time. This is a very powerful novel and one filled with love, forgiveness, sadness, tragedy,(more than just one) & pure unadulterated evil. Evil in the form of a charismatic pastor. A man who cared for nothing but his own pleasures & used the ignorance of his flock to get what he wanted. The novel is told in 3 voices; sweet innocent Jess, who wanted to protect his mute brother, Stump; Adelaide, the town midwife who knew the evil that controlled the church & tried to protect the children from it, & Clem, the town sheriff that had his own sad burdens to bear but who I felt was a hero. The one voice I wanted to hear was that of Julie, Jess & Stumps mother. Being a mother of 3, I wanted to try to understand her & how she could allow things to happen the way that they did. I can't imagine the control that the evil pastor, Chambliss, had over her and his entire congregation, except Adelaide of course. She knew his evilness & experienced it first hand. This was not an easy story to read. Chambliss made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. Jess's little friend, Joe Bill, had to constantly worry about being tortured by his truly sadistic brother Scooter and Scooter's idiot friend Clay. I wanted to protect Jess & Stump & their friend Joe Bill & I wanted the evil pastor to get his just reward, but things don't always turn out like we want them to. I find it hard to believe that is a debut novel. It is most definitely a 5 star novel & I am so glad that I chose it to read from the Amazon Vine Program.
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57 of 61 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Often, Evil is found in the places you least expect it. Perhaps it is even harder to forgive and move forward when the evil that is done to you comes from such an unexpected source. I can say that I finished this book several days ago, but have been haunted by it ever since. I just can't seem to get it out of my mind. And I consider that to be a real compliment to the author. Love, evil, forgiveness, tragedy and great sadness, all in one. This heartbreaking and memorable story is told through three different people involved in different ways. First and foremost, Jess, so sweet and innocent, wanting only to protect his dear brother, Stump, who is mute. Another important voice is that of Clem, the town Sheriff with sad and unspeakable burdens of his own to bear, and Adelaide, the Midwife in the town. She knew some of what was going on, and tried her best to protect the town's children from the evil that hid behind righteous disguise. The pastor, Chambliss, is one of the most despicable characters I have ever read about.

The author, Wiley Cash, has written a debut novel unlike anything I have ever read, and I hope that this unbelievably powerful novel gets the attention from the reading public that it deserves. I for one will be talking about it to everyone I know.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Promising author October 23, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book for the writer's style if nothing else. Cash has a real ability to create rich imagery. The story has some great lines and elements, but gets pretty heavy handed. Example: two characters, each responsible for the death of the other's son. I felt like it ended abruptly, with a quick, philosophical sewing-up at the end. Some of the characters were really interesting people, worthy of a story all their own. I hope we see more of this author. I might be particularly partial as I discovered that he is a local, but I enjoyed his writing.
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36 of 44 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good story, bad writing December 31, 2012
By S.E.E.
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really wanted to love this book, but I can only give it 2.5 stars. The story is good, and it contains more that enough twists and turns to keep my attention. But the writing itself detracted (and distracted) from the story.

First, much of the book is overwritten. In once scene, Joe Bill's grandpa makes him a peanut butter sandwich. Joe Bill states:

He watched me pull out my chair and sit down. I picked up a piece of bread and took a bite. He'd put that peanut butter on there thick, and the bread stuck to the roof of my mouth and I had a hard time swallowing it. I stood up from the table and got me a glass from the cabinet and went to the refrigerator for the milk. I sat my glass on the counter and poured the milk until my glass was full, and then I put the milk back into the refrigerator and carried my glass to the table.

This seems like a superfluous amount of words to communicate "I got up and got a glass of milk." Sometimes, less is more.

Secondly, much of the story is told in flashbacks and dreams that disrupt any sense of continuity within the novel. By way of example, two boys are playing basketball on a dirt court when Joe Bill asks Jess, "What is your grandpa's house like?" Jess answers, "It's okay, I guess." Then, mid-game, Jess gives the reader a six-page description of the only time Jess has been to his grandpa's house before passing the ball back to Joe Bill. Because only the tenses have changed, the narrative is disjointed and jumpy.

Finally, the dialogue is over-written or over-edited or over-something. I don't know. Each chapter is told by a different character in that character's own voice, which works most of the time.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book.
Couldn't put it down.
Published 21 hours ago by Nancy
5.0 out of 5 stars Wiley Cash has an excellent way of presenting his characters and plot...
I had to keep checking the back of this novel to assure myself that it really was a 'first' novel. Wiley Cash has an excellent way of presenting his characters and plot changes... Read more
Published 8 days ago by Bonnye Reed Fry
2.0 out of 5 stars Just ok....
It wasn't that good. I like reading books that make me in a hurry to get back to reading them. This wasn't that kind of book.
Published 11 days ago by T.A.P.
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling read that keeps you turning the pages. Nothing ...
Compelling read that keeps you turning the pages. Nothing is lost in the switch between character voices every couple of chapters. You feel for the characters in the story.
Published 17 days ago by Meghan
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fine Novel from the World of Flannery O'Connor
Cash takes us into Flannery O’Connor territory, where evil and violence lurk inside a small rural church. Read more
Published 27 days ago by Joe Da Rold
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
This was a character study that wove around a story. I kept wanting more and felt let down.
Published 28 days ago by Judy M. Iwen
5.0 out of 5 stars A strange title
I 've never known a church like this one. This was shame that a church can have a leader who condones snakes and poison. I knew something warship I
Published 29 days ago by Raven reader
4.0 out of 5 stars RECOMMENDED!
I found this book to be a well written, intense, page-turner full of imagery. In some ways, the varied perspectives of the narrators reminded me of Faulkner's, "As I Lay... Read more
Published 1 month ago by D. Meyers
3.0 out of 5 stars Really like a novella
Really like a novella. Don't be fooled, the last part of the kindle edition is 3 chapters of his next novel.
Okay story. Okay writing. Ending was rushed. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Ann Gillespie
4.0 out of 5 stars a good read. I like the characters that are so ...
a good read. I like the characters that are so real. It was a book about how others live in our country in a different way than most of us. Very well written.
Published 1 month ago by Robert J. Miller
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More About the Author

Writing This Dark Road to Mercy

The inspiration for This Dark Road to Mercy began with a beautiful story my wife told me about her childhood, and this led me to recall a tragic story from my own past. I'll begin by sharing the story I heard, and then I'll tell you about the story I already knew.

According to my wife, when she was a little girl she was an incredibly talented baseball player, but she had only one weakness in her game: she didn't know how to slide into base. To remedy this, after her father arrived home from work in the summertime, the two of them would walk to the baseball field behind the grade school she attended, and they'd take turns sliding into third base, her father lending his encouragement and offering tips to help her feel more comfortable.

I invite you to picture the image she painted for me: it's dusk on a summer evening in the American South; a father and his daughter are alone on an empty baseball field, taking turns sliding into base; the sound of crickets rises from the woods on the edge of the field; fireflies glow in the dusk; a car quietly passes on the road in front of the baseball field and slows down for a moment, taking in the scene. The car's windows are down and you are inside it: you can hear the crickets, you can feel the warm, humid air, and when you look out toward the baseball field, what do you see?

My wife's story is an emotionally touching story to hear, and I wanted to write about that girl and her father, but I knew it wouldn't necessarily make for a compelling read. Readers like more complications, more drama, less innocence and purity and much less simplicity. So I reimagined the scene: the little girl is out there playing ball with her friends one day after school, and when she slides into third base she stands up, dusts herself off, and spies her father sitting up in the stands, watching her. All she can think is Why is that loser here?

When it came time to write my second novel after the publication of A Land More Kind Than Home, I returned to the story my wife had told me, and I once again conjured the image of the lone girl and her loser father, and I thought of ways to complicate it. I wondered if this girl had a younger sibling she had to care for, and it was then that I remembered two young girls I'd known growing up in North Carolina. They were foster children, and when I met them they were being raised by an elderly couple that went to my church. The oldest girl was my age, and her sister was about three years younger. I knew them for a few years, but eventually they went back to live with their birth mother, and I never saw them again because we didn't go to the same school.

A few years later, I heard the girls' names on the local news; they'd been murdered by their boyfriends, two grown men who suspected the sisters of stealing drugs from them. The oldest was fifteen, and her sister was twelve. The two men had picked the girls up at their mother's home the night before and driven them out into the country. There, at the base of a mountain, they cut the girls' throats, buried them in shallow graves, and covered their bodies with lime.

I invite you to picture the image that has been in my mind for years: it's well past dark on a weeknight in the American South; two young sisters are riding in a truck with their much older boyfriends, both of whom seem nervous and don't have much to say; the streets are empty, and the girls hear the sound of the truck's tires as they move from pavement to gravel and then to dirt; the driver parks the truck and tells the two sisters to get out.

After almost twenty years, I found that I couldn't stop thinking about those two little girls and the tragedy that had befallen them. I wondered about their lives, about an adult who would allow minor girls to date grown men, about grown men who would murder children in cold blood.

Before I knew it, the story of the two sisters merged with the story my wife had told me, and I began to add my own fictive elements: two sisters are languishing in foster care; their missing father returns and kidnaps them, desperately hoping for another chance at raising his family. But things can't be that simple. Hot on the father's trail are two very different men: a violent bounty hunter with a years' old vendetta and an ex-cop who's the girls' court-appointed guardian.

This Dark Road to Mercy was inspired by both beauty and tragedy, innocence and evil, and these conflicting elements drive the novel. The two girls in my novel don't suffer the same fate as the two sisters I once knew, but they nonetheless are forced into an adult world before they're emotionally prepared to confront it, and their lives will never be the same. But, at its core, the book is about mercy, and that's what the two sisters in my novel are shown. I only wish that the two young girls I knew could've been shown the same mercy. Their tragedy haunts me still.

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