Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Land More Kind Than Home - Book Review

My mother-in-law grew up in a holler in Harlan, Kentucky. Her brother had a whiskey still and her family had a violent quarrel with neighbors over a pig. When she was 18 years old she met and married my father-in-law who took her away from Kentucky. She spent the next 61 years living in the suburbs of Salt Lake City, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New York City, Dallas and Washington DC yet there are so many lingering tells from her childhood in Kentucky. She still has an accent and uses colloquial phrases. The family lore is strong and I enjoy hearing the tales from her home--some painful and others joyful. There are times now, as she suffers from Alzheimer's, that her memories of her years in Kentucky are stronger than memories of yesterday. When she talks of Kentucky, there is a special tenderness and longing in her eyes. A longing for home.

I finished reading A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash last week but I needed to digest it and think about it for awhile before I wrote my review. Even now I struggle to find the right words to describe this beautiful and tragic book.

Jess Hall is a nine year old boy growing up in the mountains of North Carolina. His older brother Christopher, a mute, has a "special day" at the church his mother attends but where children are not allowed. Jess, very protective of his older brother, sneaks to the church to spy on what is happening with his brother. Jess observes evil and the spiraling consequences will tear a family apart yet set up the opportunity for the healing of a community, a church and a boy.

Told through the voices of Jess, Adelaide an old woman who used to be a member of the church where Jess's mother attends, and Clem the sheriff--each of whom know various aspects of the truth, the reader gets to experience the whole story. Their stories combine as their histories in the small community twist together and turn into disaster but with the chance of redemption.

Wiley Cash is a writer who inspires deep, heart-wrenching emotion and brings a place to life with awe-inspiring, lyrical language. His characters are terribly real and the emotions so intense and honest that it's hard to believe it's fiction. Cash has earned his place with the greats. My husband rarely reads fiction but I forced him to read Leif Enger's Peace Like a River and I will force him to read A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash.

**Just so you know, I bought myself a copy of A Land More Kind Than Home. This is my honest review.**

No comments: