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Mudbound Library Binding – 9 Apr 2009


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Product details

  • Library Binding
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442002263
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442002265
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 13.5 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)

More About the Author

Hillary Jordan grew up in Texas and Oklahoma and received her MFA in fiction from Columbia University. Mudbound is her first novel.

Product Description

Review

"A page-turning read that conveys a serious message without preaching" (Observer)

"This is storytelling at the height of its powers: the ache of wrongs not yet made right, the fierce attendance of history made as real as rain, as true as this minute. Hillary Jordan writes with the force of a Delta storm" (Barbara Kingsolver)

"Blatant injustice is heartbreakingly brought to life by Hillary Jordan in her debut novel...A tale that has echoes of the novels of John Steinbeck and Alice Walker...The varied viewpoints allow for an intimate insight into each character's thoughts and motivations that enriches the novel" (Glasgow Herald)

"Jordan builds the tension slowly and meticulously, so that when the shocking denouement arrives, it is both inevitable and devastating...A compelling tale" (Glasgow Herald) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

When I think of the farm, I think of mud...There was no defeating it. The mud coated everything. I dreamed in brown. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 63 people found the following review helpful By emma who reads a lot TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 21 Oct 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is really powerful. It's set in the Deep South of the USA just as World War Two has finished, where little had changed since the abolition of slavery. White and black farmers live side by side amidst terrible prejudice, yet the war has changed things, and terrible consequences follow. But there's also a lot of love, and family in the book. If you liked Cold Mountain I think this might be a good choice.

The story is incredibly dramatic. It's told by each character in turn, so you hear lots of different voices as the tale progresses. My hair was on end for much of the book and I cried at the ending, which is heart-wrenching. It is as vivid as a good film, but in addition, is beautifully written, with a really strong, muscular sense of the story and of the characters. Hillary Jordan makes a point of showing the goodness and the evil that are both in the world, and links the terrible events of the book to tiny chance decisions that could have gone either way. The ending is really brilliant too. I think Richard & Judy have picked some really good books and this is another one.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Lady Fancifull TOP 500 REVIEWER on 4 Dec 2008
Format: Paperback
This is one of those books I guess which will continue to resonate, and linger in the mind. Its particularly shocking as it forces us to remember how VERY recently the civil rights movement became something mainstream.

In the year when Americans elected Barack Obama to the White House, its so shocking to remember that only a few decades ago, in the most powerful nation on earth, apartheid was still the norm in some states, that the lynching mob was still in operation for black people who 'stepped out of line' (a line drawn by racists)

This story, set at the end of World War II, and dealing with the effects of that on the men who returned to the States from Europe, changed both by an expansion AND a loss of innocence, and also it is about the effect of family, both in its strengths and weaknesses.

The book is told through several different voices, and Jordan builds our sense of compassion, horror, pity, shame and disgust beautifully.

Her ending hints at, but doesn't guarantee, hope
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. K. Burton VINE VOICE on 22 Feb 2010
Format: Paperback
Laura thought she was destined for spinsterhood until Henry McAllan chose to make her his wife. What she didn't bargain on was his desire to own land, and their move to a cotton farm a few years later with two small girls. Laura hates the farm, which she and her daughters christen Mudbound, and hates her father-in-law, who has no place to live but with them. When World War II ends, Henry's brother Jamie comes to stay with the family, and so does Ronsel Jackson, the son of the sharecroppers nearby. Sharing the common bond of fighting men, Ronsel and Jamie become friends of a sort, in a way that no one in the South will tolerate for very long.

It's hard to say I liked this book, but it was compelling and completely horrifying in parts. This is particularly so because most of the characters in the book are very racist. I know people genuinely thought like this when and where this book is set, but it bothers me and I can't understand it (which, I suppose, is a good thing). I wanted all the characters to stop being close-minded, to think more like Jamie, who sees Ronsel as a person despite the color of his skin and respects the military achievements that he made.

The book rotates between viewpoints, giving us insight into all of the characters' heads. We can witness Laura's unhappiness, Henry's land-lust, Jamie's jitters and bad memories. Ronsel's memories of war in Europe were for me the most affecting. He describes the difference it made in Europe when he was defined as a man, not as a black man; the wonder of having a white woman fall in love with him and everyone make him feel like he was valued.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Neil Curry on 9 Mar 2008
Format: Hardcover
Early in the second chapter of Hillary Jordan's brilliant new novel Mudbound, one of her leading characters, Laura, says, "I suppose the beginning depends on who's telling the story. No doubt the others would start somewhere different, but they'd still wind up at the same place in the end." And this is the key to the book's whole structure. We have just seen the end. In Chapter One we saw Laura's husband and his younger brother digging a grave on their farm, a grave seven feet deep in what seems to have been total mud. They were burying their father, who did not, it is hinted, die from natural causes. How this end came about we are told in the following chapters, each of which is narrated by one of the others.
This is of course a structure similar to William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying, but the comparison need not stop there. Hillary Jordan writes with the same slow-burning intensity and this area of the Mississippi Delta is struck by the same tragedies, the same storms - meteorological, emotional and racial - as any in Yoknapatawpha County.
Two young men have returned to the Delta from serving in World War Two: Laura's young brother-in-law and the son of one of the black share-cropping families who work on her husband's land. They have seen a different world and no longer fit in to this bigoted and racist community. They become friends. But the young black is seen to be riding in the passenger seat of his friend's pick-up truck instead of in the back where he belongs, and that is cause enough for all that follows. It is a violent and brutal story but told with understanding and compassion.
Mudbound won the Bellwether prize for fiction, a prize awarded biennially to a first literary novel that addresses issues of social justice. and I feel sure that there will be many more prizes won by this outstandingly gifted writer.
Neil Curry
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