The International Bestseller
Now a major motion picture from Netflix, directed by Dee Rees, nominated in four categories for the Academy Awards.
In Jordan's prize-winning debut, prejudice takes many forms, both subtle and brutal. It is 1946, and city-bred Laura McAllan is trying to raise her children on her husband's Mississippi Delta farm—a place she finds foreign and frightening. In the midst of the family's struggles, two young men return from the war to work the land. Jamie McAllan, Laura's brother-in-law, is everything her husband is not—charming, handsome, and haunted by his memories of combat. Ronsel Jackson, eldest son of the black sharecroppers who live on the McAllan farm, has come home with the shine of a war hero. But no matter his bravery in defense of his country, he is still considered less than a man in the Jim Crow South. It is the unlikely friendship of these brothers-in-arms that drives this powerful novel to its inexorable conclusion.
The men and women of each family relate their versions of events and we are drawn into their lives as they become players in a tragedy on the grandest scale. As Barbara Kingsolver says of Hillary Jordan, "Her characters walked straight out of 1940s Mississippi and into the part of my brain where sympathy and anger and love reside, leaving my heart racing. They are with me still."
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Unfolding against the bleak realities of the Jim Crow era, 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
Oh my did I hate for this book to end. Walking around in daze now. Crazy good book.
An amazing story....A perfect novel
Mudbound is one of the best books I've read in a long while. I can't imagine any reader not finding it worthwhile. It won literary prizes and it's no wonder! It was written with such a tautness that I could hardly put it down until I reached the end!
I was assigned to read this book for my Behavior class. I’m so grateful to my professor for choosing this book for our assignment! I could not put it down. But I’m dying to know how Ronsel felt about Jaime at the end… ugh WHY COULDN’T YOU GIVE US THAT! Lol… On a serious note. Amazing book. Truly opens the readers eyes to the realities of the past and present time. Racism remains to be alive and well today; its just better hidden.