When Henry McAllan moves his city-bred wife, Laura, to a cotton farm in the Mississippi Delta in 1946, she finds herself in a place both foreign and frightening. Henry's love of rural life is not shared by Laura, who struggles to raise their two young children in an isolated shotgun shack under the eye of her hateful, racist father-in-law. When it ...
When Henry McAllan moves his city-bred wife, Laura, to a cotton farm in the Mississippi Delta in 1946, she finds herself in a place both foreign and frightening. Henry's love of rural life is not shared by Laura, who struggles to raise their two young children in an isolated shotgun shack under the eye of her hateful, racist father-in-law. When it rains, the waters rise up and swallow the bridge to town, stranding the family in a sea of mud. As the Second World War shudders to an end, two young men return from Europe to help work the farm. Jamie McAllan is everything his older brother Henry is not and is sensitive to Laura's plight, but also haunted by his memories of combat. Ronsel Jackson, eldest son of the black sharecroppers who live on the farm, comes home from war with the shine of a hero, only to face far more dangerous battles against the ingrained bigotry of his own countrymen. These two unlikely friends become players in a tragedy on the grandest scale.
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Good story of what life was like during this time in the farmlands of the south. Story of young men, black and white, who served in WWI and the effects of that experience when they returned home. Worthwhile reading.
Oct 29, 2009
a story of survival
Everyone must figure out how to survive in a hostile world. Each one discovers thier way to find warmth and comfort against all odds. It also helps to understand the struggles against racism in the South after WWII. I never realized how hard it must have been for the African American soldiers to come back home and be treated with such hostility, after serving thier country and being accepted without reservation in Europe.
Aug 17, 2008
Life in the Rural South after WWII
The author does an amazing job of capturing the voice of her characters to paint a picture of life in a time during which racisim was not only acceptable, but expected. It is critical that we, as a nation and a people, remember the insanity and unneccesary violence of or ethnically devisive past so that we are NOT doomed to repeat it. This book is a window into that world which would benefit those who remember it as well as those who cannot truly believe that it existed.
Aug 15, 2008
Sad but satisfying book
An enjoyable book. Jordan captured the deep emotions and culture of the 1940s racially-divided south. The McAllans slog through the fields of strained family relationships and maneuver the murky waters of racism and friendship as they build a new home in Mississippi. Laura McAllan?s strong will and spirit carries her through the most dire family circumstances toward a hopeful future. Through the eyes of Ronsel Jackson, a Black sharecropper?s son, we are brought face-to-face with the tragedy of racial hatred. The story captures life from both sides and leaves us with hope for new beginnings.
Apr 9, 2008
What a great story,told in alternating perspectives ,by an accomplished first time author. Truly wonderful and horrific at the same time, this novel builds to a stunning climax without being preachy or condescending. I truly enjoyed it and would highly recommend to anyone.
Publishers Weekly, 2007-11-05 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. (Mar.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
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