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Mudbound by Hillary Jordan


by Hillary Jordan

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old south, racism, farm isolation, laura ( )
  debbiehughes | Sep 17, 2014 |
I really enjoyed this story and getting to know the characters, even though it was hard to read about some of the things happening. Although hard to read sometimes I think the story line was a very realistic portrayal of the time and place of the story. ( )
  kim.jacobs | Sep 1, 2014 |
What a delightful find! This book was very well written and an interesting take on life in Mississippi in the 40s. The author managed to weave together several characters (many of whom could have been the subject of an entire book) into one story in a very compelling way. This was a sad story, realistic and engaging. I would recommend. ( )
  sbenne3 | Aug 12, 2014 |
Freely admit I couldn't finish because of the small southern town prejudice that I just didn't want to bother with reading after I finished "We're all welcome here". Maybe later. ( )
  carolvanbrocklin | Aug 10, 2014 |
Mudbound is an incredibly good book which deals with difficult subjects: racism, sexism and the struggle to put into words those things that scar us and leave us limping through life.

Two soldiers come back from the war. Ronsel, the black son of a sharecropper, comes home with a sense of pride in who he is and what he has accomplished. This pride makes it hard for him to fit into the deeply racist Mississippi Delta. Jamie, the brother of the farm owner comes home deeply wounded by the things that he has seen and done during the war. There is no one he can talk to so he tries to forget by drinking far too much. Jamie and Ronsel develop something of a friendship. Their time as soldiers give some common understanding. Although Jamie still carries the prejudice he was born into.

There is a bit of a prodigal son theme in this story in that the older brother is responsible and tries to do what is right – although he is blind to the racism and the sexism that are a part of the fabric of his life. Jamie on the other hand seems to throw away all that he has. In real life we often see this when people live with a lot of self-hatred and don’t feel worthy of good things. Which brings me to another point: The characters in this story were believable and took on flesh. The father in this story does not represent love, but is a vicious mean spirited man who cuts down his son, makes his daughter-in-laws life miserable and instigates the conflict that is at the heart of this story.

I highly recommend this first book by Hillary Jordan. It is worthy of the prizes it has won.
( )
  DianneAstle | Aug 4, 2014 |
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If I could do it, I'd do no writing at all here. It would be photographs; the rest would be fragments of cloth. bits of cotton, lumps of earth, records of speech, pieces of wood and iron, phials of odors, plates of food and of excrement.... A piece of the body torn out by the roots might be more to the point.----James Agee, "Let us Now Praise Famous Men"
To Mother, Gay and Nana, for the stories
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Henry and I dug the hole seven feet deep.
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Book description
In this award-winning portrait of two families caught up in the blind hatred of a small Southern town, prejudice takes many forms-some subtle, some ruthless. Mudbound is the saga of the McAllan family, who struggle to survive on a remote ramshackle farm, and the Jacksons, their black sharecroppers. When two sons return from WWII to work the land, the unlikely friendship between these brothers-in-arms-one white, one black-arouses the passions of their neighbors. As the men and women of each family tell their version of events we are drawn into their lives. Striving for love and honor is a brutal time and place, they become players in a tragedy on the grandest scale and find reemption where they least expect it. -back of book
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 156512569X, Hardcover)

Jordan won the 2006 Bellwether Prize for Mudbound, her first novel. The prize was founded by Barbara Kingsolver to reward books of conscience, social responsibility, and literary merit. In addition to meeting all of the above qualifications, Jordan has written a story filled with characters as real and compelling as anyone we know.

It is 1946 in the Mississippi Delta, where Memphis-bred Laura McAllan is struggling to adjust to farm life, rear her daughters with a modicum of manners and gentility, and be the wife her land-loving husband, Henry, wants her to be. It is an uphill battle every day. Things started badly when Henry's trusting nature resulted in the family being done out of a nice house in town, thus relegating them to a shack on their property. In addition, Henry's father, Pappy, a sour, mean-spirited devil of a man, moves in with them.

The real heart of the story, however, is the friendship between Jamie, Henry's too-charming brother, and Ronsel Jackson, son of sharecroppers who live on the McAllan farm. They have both returned from the war changed men: Jamie has developed a deep love for alcohol and has recurring nightmares; Ronsel, after fighting valiantly for his country and being seen as a man by the world outside the South, is now back to being just another black "boy."

Told in alternating chapters by Laura, Henry, Jamie, Ronsel, and his parents, Florence and Hap, the story unfolds with a chilling inevitability. Jordan's writing and perfect control of the material lift it from being another "ain't-it-awful" tale to a heart-rending story of deep, mindless prejudice and cruelty. This eminently readable and enjoyable story is a worthy recipient of Kingsolver's prize and others as well. --Valerie Ryan

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:36:35 -0400)

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In 1946, Laura McAllan tries to adjust after moving with her husband and two children to an isolated cotton farm in the Mississipi Delta.

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Hillary Jordan is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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