Book Review: A Land More Kind Than Home

June 26, 2012 audio, book review 2

A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash

Narration by: Nick Sullivan, Lorna Raver, Mark Bramhall

Published by:  Harper Collins April 2012/ Harper Audio

Length: 8 hours 56 minutes

Source: Purchased from

I have to preface this review by saying there are book that enter our lives and the characters and story just want to stay there.  This book is one of those books.  I had read several outstanding reviews and I knew I’d better get to reading this book.  I am blown away by this book, it’s just amazing how Wiley Cash wrote these characters, wove this story and made me not want it to end.  It will be one of my favorites of 2012.

In the town of Marshall North Carolina a small church exists, a church where Pastor Carson Chambliss preaches about God, and demons, and the Holy Spirit.  He preaches about how God protects him from fire and dangerous snakes.  He handles those snakes and tells his followers that his faith is what keeps him from being bitten.   Naturally there are tales to be told about Chambliss, and Adelaide Lyle begins the story as the book begins.  She is just one of the voices that tells the story of this small town, of a murder, and the twisted mess that has ironic turns and repercussions. 

The story is also about two brothers, Christopher and Jess Hall.  Christopher is a mute, and most people call him Stump.  He and Jess are as close as most young brothers are, and when they peek into windows and see things they aren’t supposed to see it appears to set forth a chain of events no one could predict.  Jess tells the portion of the story he sees, from his perspective as an innocent 9 year old boy.

Clem Barefield is the local Sheriff, he is the one called in when a death, and suspected murder occurs in the small town.  Haunted by his own loss, Clem is familiar with Pastor Chambliss and his church.  He knows much more than he’s let on.  Clem is the third voice in this book, telling his own part of this tale, and giving the reader yet another perspective.

The dialogue and story are written as if Cash himself had grown up in this time.  He writes of the small town lives and tragedies in a way that is detailed and intimate and knowing.  Each chapter lead me to want to know more and more of the story, and the unexpected twists it took were so well done, and yet sad in so many ways.  As I read I wanted to run out and comfort young Jess, a boy who was thrust into learning so much so young.

I listened to this book on audio, and the three narrators, Nick Sullivan, Lorna Raver and Mark Bramhall were superb.  Each of them captures the voice of their character and brought it to life for me.  Excellent choices!!

This is a story I won’t easily forget, I really didn’t want it to end…it was almost sad when I listened to the last hour, as I knew I would soon leave North Carolina, and young Jess, and that while he was just a character in this beautiful book, he became so real to me.  I’ve given this a 5 out of 5 stars, and I highly recommend it to anyone.  While this is Southern Literature at it’s finest, everyone should read this book.

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