10 reviews

A Land More Kind Than Home
by Wiley Cash

Published: 2013-01-22
Paperback : 309 pages
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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 ...
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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 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 Iâ??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 placesâ?? a quote, a childhood experience, the sky is the limit. What inspired you to write this novel?

Wiley Cash: Thanks, Adriana. Iâ??d like to congratulate you on the success of The Shoemakerâ??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 boyâ??s story and the story of the community surrounding him.

AT:Truth be told, Iâ??m a big fan of the â??80sâ??big hair, some of the best music of all timeâ??whatâ??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 â??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 beingâ??not just in churches but in families as wellâ??is what drives much of the novel.

AT: One of the things I love most about this novel is that itâ??s told from very different perspectivesâ??from a young boy to a woman in her eighties to a middle-aged sheriff. As readers can see from your author photo you donâ??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: Iâ??m a huge fan of book clubs. In my mind, thereâ??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 boysâ?? 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?


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Discussion Questions

Suggested by Members

Discuss the importance of the title of the book. How does it tie into the story?
by billandsusan2014 (see profile) 04/20/15

Compare and contrast how the sheriff's family was affected by and coped after child's death against Stump's family.
Should Adelaide have done more than she did to ward off the preacher's influences? Would it be reasonable to expect her to do more than she did, given that she was a old woman, living alone with no family around?
by barbchickweed (see profile) 03/31/14

Don't ignore Julie, Stump's mother. Explore her motivations and readers' reactions to her.
Is this really a mystery?
by bayleaf (see profile) 03/31/14

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

No notes at this time.

Book Club Recommendations

by Belize66.. (see profile) 04/20/15
Our hostess served the typical meal that was described in the book on page 76 by one of the characters in the book. Very fun.

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
  "A Land More Kind Than Home"by Belize66.. (see profile) 04/20/15

Members of our book group like this book across the board. We found it skillfully and beautifully written, voice of the characters authentic, description showing a strong sense of place, a dramatic... (read more)

by billandsusan2014 (see profile) 04/20/15

This is an interesting read. It brings up many interesting topics, some of these being religion and upbringing. It is told by three different narrators. The story is released in small enticing tidbits... (read more)

  "The audio book captured the characters perfectly!"by thewanderingjew (see profile) 02/13/15

I do not know if the print book would come across as magnificently as the audio book, but the readers, Mark Bramhall, Lorna Raver, and Nick Sullivan, perfectly captured the spirit of the cha... (read more)

  "Worth a read and good for discussion"by barbchickweed (see profile) 03/31/14

Set in a small NC mountain town in the 80s, where social and community life often revolves around the church, this book watches how loss affects families, how a sinister and manipulative preacher can pray... (read more)

  "A Land More Kind than Home"by bayleaf (see profile) 03/31/14

A Land More Kind than Home is about family and each member's response to the circumstances which life presents it. I'm a fan of southern literature and its gothic appeal, but this novel's incredibly slow-moving... (read more)

  "A land more kind than home"by rmjjj (see profile) 01/23/14

  "review"by marlobwebb (see profile) 09/11/13

  "A Land More Kind to Home kind to readers"by sar1982 (see profile) 05/21/13

Kind to its readers in slow revelations through different perspectives. I enjoyed this book and would recommend it.

  "A land more kind than home"by vernandglen (see profile) 04/26/13

  "A LAND MORE KIND THAN HOME by Wiley Cash"by mistyviolet (see profile) 04/04/13

Wiley Cash has a way with words. He can make you see a rain storm or love with equal clarity. In A LAND MORE KIND THAN HOME he has written a beautiful elegy for love and death, faith and fea... (read more)

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