Format: Trade Paperback and ebook
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: 2012
Source: Purchased (paperback), Library(ebook)
From the back cover:
For a curious boy like Jess Hall, growing up in Marshall means trouble when you get caught spying on grown-ups. Adventurous and precocious, Jess is 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 repercussions. It’s a wrenching event that thrusts Jess into an adulthood for which he’s not prepared. He now knows that a new understanding can bring not only danger and evil-but also the possibility of freedom and deliverance. Told by resonant and evocative characters, 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.
Every single one of my friends who recommended this book was right. I loved it.
The book is told by three people in alternating chapters.
Jess is 9 years old and his voice as both observer and protagonist is the one that will stick with me.
Adelaide Lyle is an older woman who took it upon herself to keep the children outside of the local church during services.
Clem Barfield is the local sheriff who has his own sad past and a history with Jess’s grandfather.
It’s the preacher in the local church who is the embodiment of evil dressed as a messenger of God.
This is a heartbreakingly sad story but it is beautifully told and I won’t soon forget these characters. The story itself grabbed me right away and was eager to find out what happened. Along the way Cash created a place and atmosphere that I could almost tactically sense as I was reading. The more the story continued the more I started to dread the outcome.
I’ve seen many reviews that stress how Cash was able to accurately capture the regional dialect and area of western North Carolina. I know I could both see and hear what was happening in my mind as I read it.
The lyrical writing is a stark contrast to the violence of the story but it all works so beautifully. I am definitely looking forward to reading Wiley Cash’s new book.