Something has spoken to me in the night . . . and told me I shall die, I know not where, Saying:”‘[Death is] to lose the earth you know, for greater knowing; to leave the friends you loved, for greater loving; to find a land more kind than home, more large than earth.”
This quote from Thomas Wolfe’s You Can’t Go Home Again provides the title for Wiley Cash’s novel which takes place in a fictional rural area near Wolfe’s home in Asheville, in the western part of North Carolina, in the hills and mountains of the Blue Ridge.
From the beginning this novel feels like a Greek tragedy, narrated by three people, the young Jess, who sees something he should not; the old lady who is the conscience of the town of Marshall; and the sheriff, who has to pick up the pieces when Jess’ mother makes a terrible mistake and his father does what he has to do.
A Place More Kind than Home is Cash's first novel, beautifully written. It is not a folksy, local color tale. It’s an intensely suspenseful narrative about people who are unable to forget the past and struggle to cope with the surprises of the present.