A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash is a novel taking place in a small town in North Carolina. I saw a lot of great reviews and articles about this book and thought that I might enjoy the story as well.
Jess Hall is a young man who has a lust for life and adventure. He is also protective of his older brother, Christopher, who is a mute and has developmental problems. One day Christopher, also known as Stump, sees something he’s not supposed to and the consequences are enormous.
Jess, Adelaide Lyle, the town’s midwife, and Clem Barefield, the sheriff, all narrate the story with their own unique perspectives and painful histories.
I had a tough time getting into A Land More Kind Than Home. The first 80 pages or so seemed to drag and only when the sheriff was introduced did the story pick up. Even though the book is cataloged under the “mystery” genre, the story is pretty much straightforward and there is no mystery per-se.
From a technical aspect, this is a superb book. Mr. Wiley is extremely talented and even though I might not have enjoyed the whole of the story, I certainly enjoyed embracing the literary aspects of the narrative. The real star of the book is the atmosphere, which gives this timeless story a rich and expansive feeling.
The set of characters is fantastic; each one of them probably deserves a book of his or her own. I don’t say this often (actually, this is the first time I ever said this), but it would have benefited the book to have about 50 pages more of character development. The story is slow and steady, the drama builds up slowly but ends very quickly without giving any character its just due.