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A land more kind than home
Wiley Cash
Adult Fiction CASH

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Cash's debut novel is a chilling descent into the world of religious frenzy in small town North Carolina. At the core of the book is a mysterious and demonic pastor, Carson Chambliss, an ex-con and born-again believer who uses snakes and poison to prove God's love: he seduces the town with raucous church meetings where they dance, heal, and speak in tongues until one Sunday a mute child dies during evening service. The novel is narrated from multiple perspectives, taking us deep into the minds of the dead boy's younger brother, Jess, of sheriff Barefield who investigates the crime and has his own past demons to run from, and of Adelaide Lyle, an old healer and midwife who's spent her life grasping after faith and has had her own run-ins with Pastor Chambliss. The story weaves back and forth through time, as the traumas of the past emerge to trouble the present, and the dead boy's father seeks justice through violence and drink. The distinctive and authentic voices of the characters help Cash draw a moving portrait of smalltown life and the power of belief. Though the story falls within the tradition of Southern gothic, the strangeness and horror remain distant in the characters' laconic narration. And while it gestures toward big questions about the nature of religion and the genesis of evil, it is more concerned with melodrama and tragedy. But the book is compelling, with an elegant structure and a keen eye for detail, matched with compassionate attention to character. The languid atmosphere seduces, and Cash's fine first effort pulls the reader into a shadowy, tormented world where wolves prowl in the guise of sheep. Agent: Nat Sobel, Sobel Weber Associates. (Apr. 17) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

As lyrical, beautiful, and uncomplicated as the classic ballads of Appalachia, Cash's first novel is a tragic story of misplaced faith and love gone wrong, set in the mountains of North Carolina. The River Road Church of Christ in Signs Following is a secretive place, with newspapers taped over the windows so you can't see in, and the minister, Carson Chambliss, is often seen on a Sunday morning carrying cages made of wood and chicken-wire into the building. Still, the neighbors pay little attention until an autistic child becomes the victim of a special healing service, and the local sheriff launches an investigation. Told in three voices-of the sheriff; the child's younger brother, Jess; and an elderly church member, Adelaide Lyle-the tragedy unfolds and compounds upon itself as the backgrounds of the major players are revealed and each reacts as conscience and faith demand. VERDICT In a style reminiscent of Tom Franklin and John Hart, Cash captures the reader's imagination in the first chapter, with the minister and his snakes, and maintains the wonder of the tale through to the coda of faith and affirmation. Lovers of Southern fiction should not miss this one. [See Prepub Alert, 11/21/11.]-Thomas Kilpatrick, formerly with Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Jess Hall
Male
Protective of his brother;.



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