Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash

The mountains of North Carolina have their own culture.  The families have lived in their own specific valley for years and everyone knows everyone else's business; whose farm is doing well, who is drinking a bit too much, who is sleeping with whom.  It is a culture ripe to grow feuds; an atmosphere where wrongs can be brooded about and allowed to fester for generations. Loyalty and betrayal are everyday affairs that echo across the years.

It is also a culture in which religion can play a large part.  This is the land of small rural churches where some of the more fundamentalist beliefs play out.  Churches where snake-handling or poison drinking to prove belief that God will protect the righteous is not unusual.  Churches where charismatic preachers can hold huge influence over the families that attend their churches.

Jess Hall is a curious young boy, living on a farm with his parents and his older brother, Christopher, known as Stump to everyone.  Stump is a mute and Jess is protective of him even though he is the younger.  The boys stumble into a secret that will have consequences that impact the entire community and make life change in ways they could never foresee.

A Land More Kind Than Home is Wiley Cash's debut novel.  He grew up in this area of North Carolina and his portrayal of the area brings it to life.  The plotting is intricate and the pacing is excellent.  The characters are portrayed realistically.  This book is recommended for readers interested in family relationships.

1 comment:

Bookfool said...

I missed this author by about 4 hours when we were in Oxford, this weekend! Darn! Really looking forward to reading this, someday (when I get a copy, that is).