Now a Netflix major motion picture
Winner of the Bellwether Prize for Fiction
“Sometimes it’s necessary to do wrong. Sometimes it’s the only way to make things right.”
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 World War II to work the land, the unlikely friendship between these brothers-in-arms—one white, one black—arouses the passions of their neighbours. As the women and men of each family tell their version of events, we are drawn into their lives. Striving for love and honour in a brutal time and place, they become players in a tragedy on the grandest scale and find redemption where they least expect it.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Unfolding against the bleak realities of the Jim Crow era in the U.S., Hillary Jordan's heartbreaking debut novel tackles racism, poverty, and friendship. It's 1946 when Henry McAllan, in search of a new life, moves his family to a Mississippi Delta cotton farm. But when a mixup leaves them temporarily homeless, the McAllans have to share a dilapidated shack with the Jacksons, a family of black tenant farmers; isolation and alliances take root. Jordan uses the perspectives of both families to make this novel’s tension and tragedy completely three-dimensional—and utterly unforgettable.
Jordan's beautiful debut (winner of the 2006 Bellwether Prize for literature of social responsibility) carries echoes of As I Lay Dying, complete with shifts in narrative voice, a body needing burial, flood and more. In 1946, Laura McAllan, a college-educated Memphis schoolteacher, becomes a reluctant farmer's wife when her husband, Henry, buys a farm on the Mississippi Delta, a farm she aptly nicknames Mudbound. Laura has difficulty adjusting to life without electricity, indoor plumbing, readily accessible medical care for her two children and, worst of all, life with her live-in misogynous, racist, father-in-law. Her days become easier after Florence, the wife of Hap Jackson, one of their black tenants, becomes more important to Laura as companion than as hired help. Catastrophe is inevitable when two young WWII veterans, Henry's brother, Jamie, and the Jacksons' son, Ronsel, arrive, both battling nightmares from horrors they've seen, and both unable to bow to Mississippi rules after eye-opening years in Europe. Jordan convincingly inhabits each of her narrators, though some descriptive passages can be overly florid, and the denouement is a bit maudlin. But these are minor blemishes on a superbly rendered depiction of the fury and terror wrought by racism.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Fabulous, fabulous novel. The best I’ve read in ages. The lady can really write.