20 April 2012

A Land More Kind Than Home; Wiley Cash

A Land More Kind Than Home: A NovelA Land More Kind Than Home: A Novel by Wiley Cash
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As I read this, I thought of Conroy's Prince of Tides - the plot is very different, but the feeling (for me) was the same.

Jess is the younger brother of Stump (real name, Christopher) who is identified in the blurbage as being autistic, but I don't think that's the case because he can interact with others, he just doesn't speak, is often in his own world, and doesn't like being touched.  His mother belongs to a snake-and-fire handling church, Church of Christ in Signs Following; it's a church that Miss Lyle, the 70-something town healer refuses to let the children attend.  His father, Ben, is a former football star and son of a mean drunk.

I don't want to get into spoiler territory, so I'll stop there.  The characters are strongly drawn, their stories equally so.  There is a great deal of flashback going on, but the life of these people (in hollers and small towns) makes that backwards glance worth while.  It would not have been as interesting a story had it been told in chronological order, and the central story needs the additional information.

This is set in the 1980s, so the sheriff uses a CB, no one has a cell phone, air conditioning is rare and outdoor priveys aren't unheard of.  For many of us, this type of church and belief are foreign and it was sometimes necessary to remind myself that these people did (and do) exist.

ARC provided by publisher.

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