Monday, March 19, 2012

Mini-Review of "A Land More Kind Than Home" by Wiley Casey

The early rave reviews and blurbs about this novel set the bar high in terms of my expectations. The book far exceeded even those lofty expectations. Writing in a contemporary style that reminded me of Harper Lee with a hint of Faulkner and a touch of "Cold Mountain," Wiley Cash draws the reader into the nether world of Western North Carolina's mountaintops and hollers. The action centers on two brothers - one autistic and the other very protective - both of his brother and of the community secrets. The story is told alternately through the voices of three narrators - Clem Barefield, the local sheriff, Adelaide Lyle,an elderly midwife who has delivered most of the denizens of the county, and Jess, the younger brother in the Hall family.

Much of the conflict revolves around the local Pentacostal snake-handling congregation and its charismatic and mysterious preacher, Pastor Chambliss. Several key citizens die over the course of several decades. Those deaths and the intrigues and grudges that surround them provide plenty of fodder for complex plot twists and relationships. The author clearly loves each of the characters - at once both complex and simple. and as result, I found myself caring about them, as well. The writing is vivid and beautiful.

"A Land More Kind Than Home" is a stunning beginning to what I am confident will be a literary career of acclaim.



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