Spring/Summer '09 Reading Group List
“Hillary Jordan's assured first novel (recipient of the Bellwether Prize for Fiction) is set on a 1946 Mississippi farm, where Laura, a woman who once thought herself past the chance of marriage, finds herself living with her husband, two daughters, and a difficult father-in-law. The demands of the weather and the land, the life of the black sharecroppers, and the struggles of the returning soldiers, offer Jordan ample material to make her novel both complex and heartbreaking.”
— Leslie Reiner, Inkwood Books, Tampa, FL
Fall '09/Winter '10 Reading Group List
“Set in 1940s Mississippi, Mudbound tells the story of how World War II becomes a catalyst for change for those living on a Delta farm. Racism weighs heavily in the story, but Jordan's respect for the complexities of the character's lives, and her pragmatic honesty, build empathy and hope in the reader. This winner of the Bellwether Prize will become a book group favorite.”
— Dianne Patrick, Snowbound Books, Marquette, MI
Fall '08/Winter '09 Reading Group List
“Mudbound is not just any Southern race novel; with six first person narratives, its strength and truth is unparalleled. Jordan's expert writing is unheard of for a first novelist and you will find yourself quickly swept up by her Mississippi Delta characters. Read this brilliant novel that has everyone buzzing about Hillary Jordan as a great new literary force.”
— Suzanna Hermans, Oblong Books & Music, Rhinebeck, NY
Indie Next List Highlights 2008
“Rural Mississippi just after the Second World War is a hard and muddy place. Hillary Jordan's novel Mudbound evokes the era brilliantly -- returning soldiers trying to find their way after the brutality of the war, some facing the continuing brutality of a racist America. A very compelling story.”
— Cathy Langer, Tattered Cover Bookstore, Denver, CO
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 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.