Sunday, December 5, 2010

Mudbound by Hillary Jordan

"There is no room for pity on a farm."

This is the second time I have read Mudbound in the past year (once because it sounded like a great book and twice because my book club is going to discuss it next weekend). I would read it again and plan to recommend it to everyone I know. What a read! Hillary Jordan is a very skilled writer and I look forward to more from her.
The title comes from the name given to the farm the McAllan family lives on. Henry McAllan moves his family to the farm he has always dreamed of with the promise that they will live a more civilized life in town. This idea falls through and the family ends up living in a run-down house on the always muddy farm.
The story is told from the point of view of all of the players in this story- Laura, Henry, Jamie (Henry's brother who has returned from WWII), Florence (the sharecropper's wife who live son the land and helps Laura with daily life), Hap (Florence's husband), Ronsel (the sharecropper's son who has also returned from the war). Another player in this story, Pappy (the matriarch) doesn't help tell the story but is a large part of it.
In the time that the book takes place race relations were still strained. However, the sharecroppers and the McAllan family get along just fine. When both sons return from the war and begin to find solace in their shared experiences people begin to talk and tensions rise to a climax that left me tense as you read on to the outcome.
Jordan is skilled at ending chapters with hints of what's to come and sprinkles in details that catch your attention and make you start piecing the story together. Every character in the story was guilty of one thing or another but also needed and wanted something true in their hearts. I think that is what made all of them so believable.
Have you read Mudbound? What did you think? Will you be adding it to your to-read list? Happy Reading!

1 comment: