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3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  35,891 ratings  ·  4,189 reviews
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 e ...more
Hardcover, 328 pages
Published March 4th 2008 by Algonquin Books (first published January 1st 2008)
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Feb 23, 2008 Hillary rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
I wrote this book so I can hardly be expected to be objective!
I had sworn off any and all novels dealing with racial themes set in the South. There is only so much self-flagellating I can do in a year in penance for things in which I had no part. Certainly I realize that the theme is worth exploring, and that if you want to write a book set in the South, especially between the years covering Reconstruction through the Civil Rights era, race is going to play a part. This is all well and good, and admirable in that examining the past through the gauze of fic ...more
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
Social justice (and literature) lite

This book and I hit it off at first. It’s a quick, easy read and I enjoyed the first 2/3 or so. But looking back, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.

Mudbound is about two families living in the Mississippi Delta: one black and one white. It’s 1946 and racial tensions are high: the black GIs returning from WW2 are no longer willing to put up with being second-class citizens, but the white population is equally unwilling to allow change. The book is written in th
Aren’t there times you wish you could give a book more than 5 stars? Like The Help or The Kitchen House, this is one of those books I guess which will continue to resonate, and linger in the mind. It's told by each character in turn, so we hear lots of different voices as the tale progresses, and we can witness the way they see the events unfolding. It reads a bit like a thriller, where the tension is building up and you know something bad is going to happen.
It's set in the Delta (Mississippi)
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
There's a lot of depth here for such a fast, cleanly-written read. Several themes are woven into the lives of the various characters.
First, the senseless intensity of the racism in the deep South of the 1940s. Second, the haunted struggles of men who came home from WWII and couldn't make a place for themselves back among their own people. Third, the frustration and loneliness of an isolated Mississippi farm wife, building into desperation and rage. The combination of these difficulties causes t
Apr 29, 2008 Karlan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: adults
Recommended to Karlan by: ALA galley
This is a fast paced moving novel with several narrators. Set in the deep south immediately after WWII, the story examines the lives of hardworking farmers, passionate wives, members of the KKK, and the returning soldiers both black and white. The characters are fascinating and seemed real to me. I didn't want to see the story end.
Will Byrnes
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 15, 2013 Mike rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Mike by:
Mudbound: Hillary Jordan's Debut Novel

 photo Hillary_jordan_2011_zps5608af94.jpg
Hillary Jordan, 2011


"Henry and I dug the hole seven feet deep. Any more shallower and the corpse was liable to come rising up during the next big flood. Howdy boys! Remember me? The thought of it kept us digging even after the blisters on our palms had burst, re-formed and burst again. Every shovelful was an agony--the old man getting in his last licks. Still, I was glad of the pain. It shoved away thoughts and memories."

Henry and Jamie McAllan are b
Mudbound is a story set in the Mississippi delta country in 1946. It is about complex relations between a white family that owns the land and a black family that helps to farm the land. It is also about war and the Jim Crow conditions that existed in the South during that era.

Hillary Jordan, in her debut novel, took on the daunting task of presenting the story through the eyes of six different narrators. That would seem to be difficult enough, but making it even more difficult is the fact that t
Tea Jovanović
This wonderful books was a pleasant surprise for me... Must read... You would think that with Uncle Tom's Cabin and with Roots we had enough of such topics... but no... Unfortunately due to no marketing efforts from the publisher the book went unnoticed on Serbian market... Pity, great book!
Sad little book :-( Was it really like that? Probably. People are so inhuman.

I liked this line, from the midwife "When I met Laura McAllan she was out of her head with mama worry. When that mama worry takes ahold of a woman you can't expect no sense from her. She'll do or say anything at all and you just better hope you ain't in her way. That's the Lord's doing right there. He made mothers to be like that on account of children need protecting and the men ain't around to do it most of the time
I simply could not stop reading this book! Combining several voices the story traces a tragic incident in post World War II Mississippi. Not only does this book address Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and the hardships of farming life, it also covers class issues, family issues, sexism and racism. These are characters I will not soon forget!
Mar 14, 2008 Jenny marked it as to-read
Like millions of other NPR Morning Edition listeners, I learned that Hillary Jordan's first book, Mudbound, is the 2008 recipient of the Bellweather Prize, founded by Barbara Kingsolver, author of The Poisonwood Bible (which I haven't read, but am familiar with). After hearing the description and listening to excerpts, I was reminded of Faulkner's As I Lay Dying, one of my favorite works of American literature--the voices are unforgettable, the story line disturbing and real. I'm looking forward ...more
Mudbound, a debut novel by Hillary Jordan, is set on a Mississippi farm in the aftermath of World War II. It tells the story of the McAllan and Jackson families. The story is told from the viewpoints of the six main characters, Laura McAllan, her husband Henry, her brother-in-law Jamie, Florence Jackson, her husband Hap and her son Ronsel. Although Henry and Jamie's father plays a key role in this story, it is interesting and significant that Jordan chooses not to give him a voice. He is the onl ...more
This is a very powerful, well-written novel, the story of life on a Mississippi delta hardscrabble farm just after World War II. It is presented in the format of alternating narrators who carry the tale from their individual viewpoint--farm owner, city bred woman-now farm wife, black farm worker's wife and also herbalist and midwife. Then there are the returning men of war--the airman hero brother of the farmer and the black tank squadron hero who served under Patton, who is the son of the midwi ...more
Ruth Turner

I can't begin to say how much I loved this book. It's well written and fast paced, with wonderful characters that I loved, even if I didn't like them.

"When She Woke" is my next read, and I hope it's as amazing as "Mudbound".

This is one of those times where I understand the book's high ratings; I just don't completely share the enthusiasm.

In this novel Laura, an aging single woman of the 1940s, ends up marrying Henry, a decent older man whom she likes but doesn't feel particularly passionate about. When a surprising turn of events leads Henry to buy a Mississippi farm, Laura is forced to move out there with her two small children. Adding insult to injury, she then must take in her racist, unpleasant father-in-law.
As I started this book, I had a feeling in my gut that said..."this is not going to end well". This is a hard story, and probably so true for many who returned from World War II, and for black families in the "Jim Crow South" (and the white families as well) Each chapter is told by a different character and Jordan captures their separate voices perfectly. You could "hear" their background, the cadence of their language, their acceptance of what life had dealt them...what they could and could no ...more
Charlene Intriago
I had not read any reviews of this book before I bought it for my Kindle and was surprised to find it was such a good book. It covered a lot of ground since it was set in the mid 1940's (just after WWII) in a small rural community in the Jim Crow South. I loved how the book unfolded with the author alternating chapters among the six main characters letting each of them tell their side of the story. I think this would be a really good read for a book club. There's lots to discuss.

Dave Gaston
The starting pace of Mudbound’s smoldering southern class drama allowed the reader to enjoy Jordon’s descriptive writing and southern dialog. And at first blush, Jordon’s use of rotating the first first person account of an overlapping story was a refreshing literary device. But somewhere half way through the book the wheels fell off. Jordon’s sub plots started over-reaching to the point of wild sensationalism. There is a sidecar story of incest and a resulting mother’s demented double murder of ...more
Diane S.
I first read this author's second novel, "When she woke" and being a Scarlet Letter fan I really enjoyed this modern day take on that novel. When I saw she had a first novel, I put it on my TBR and there it remained until as a New Year's resolution I decided to read at least two book from my TBR each month. This novel blew me away, I became emotionally involved in these characters and their lives. Two strong women, one white, one black, different circumstances but both with a strong love for the ...more
The voices ring true. This is one of the highest compliments that I can pay to a book, particularly when those voices include black people and white people, male and female. Jordan, who is white, has said in interviews that she worked hard to write authentic black voices and her work definitely paid off. These characters were believable, complex, and individual. This novel is set in post-WWII Mississippi and is told from 6 viewpoints. Jordan's characters could easily have been 2-dimensional ster ...more
Read 10/26/11; reread 10/6/13.

"Soft citybred woman like Laura McAllan weren't meant for living in the Delta. Delta'll take a woman like that and suck all the sap out of her till there ain't nothing left but bone and grudge, against him that brung her here and the land that holds him and her with him. Henry McAllan was as landsick as any man I ever seen and I seen plenty of em, white and colored both. It's in their eyes, the way they look at the land like a woman they's itching for."

Mudbound tell
Wow! What a powerful, thought provoking read! I am still processing how I feel. It is definitely a 5 star read for me.

The story opens up with 2 brothers getting ready to bury their cantankerous father, who never had a nice word or action towards anyone in his entire life. "Pappy" is so vile and repulsive that he calls his granddaughter piglet and tells her she is too fat to sit on his lap; he is a bully and a mean spirited excuse for a human being.

The reader doesn't know how the old man died b
In Mudbound, by Hillary Jordan, the novel begins with two brothers, Henry and Jamie, digging a grave for their father, who had just died. Pappy, as he was referred to was a horrible man. He was mean, angry and, abusive, even to his family. He was also stingy and probably worst of all: a racist. As the brothers dig his grave, they dig up a "rusted iron shackle" encircling a bone. Sweet revenge, as most likely Pappys final resting place, will be a place he will share with a former slave. For Mudbo ...more
For all the people who recommended this book to me, you know me well. I love this kind of storytelling: interesting historical background (the Deep South just after WWII), shifting narrators (6 voices from the McAllen and Jackson families) led by strong female voices (Laura and Florence) with moments of lyrical beauty.

"But I must start at the beginning if I can find it. Beginnings are elusive things. Just when you think you have hold of one, you look back and see another, earlier beginning, and
Mudbound is the story of two families, The MacAllen’s and the Johnson’s and the events of one year that changes all their lives.

Laura MacAllen is a city girl, struggling to adapt to farm life in the Mississippi Delta. She lives with her husband Henry, their two children and Henry’s mean and hateful Pappy in a small house without electricity or indoor plumbing. Florence and Hal Johnson are black tenant sharecroppers on the MacAllen farm and Florence also helps Laura in the house. Henry’s brother
Joy H.
RE: Mudbound by Hillary Jordan
Added 4/21/09.

I almost stopped reading this book because it saddened me. However, I decided to continue reading because it's a selection of our library's book discussion group. The theme is a serious and worthy one. As for the story, the suspense toward the end became compelling.

The book deals with poor farmers in Mississippi, their problems and the relationships between blacks and whites during the 1940s. In alternating chapters, each character tells his/her side o
Nov 10, 2011 Carol rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of The Help, Kitchen House, those concerned with social change
Recommended to Carol by: book group choices
Shelves: fiction
I read Hillary Jordan's second book, When She Woke, before her debut novel, Mudbound. Mudbound was my pick for our library book discussion group. I chose it as so many had wonderful things to say about it and it had high recommendations from other book groups.

At first I thought Mudbound was very different from the dystopic When She Woke, a retelling of The Scarlet Letter. But as I continued I did see some common themes, social change, racial inequality, prejudice, women's issues and even war.

An excellent book. Grittier than The Help but similar in scope, a Southern woman's eyes are opened when her husband moves her from her comfortable and sheltered existence to the post World War II Mississippi Delta. There, the rules concerning race, marriage, and honoring your father and mother are challenged when soldiers, one, the son of a racist white farmer (who might possibly be the most unsympathetic character ever written), and the other, the black son of a sharecropper, return from the wa ...more
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Hillary Jordan is the author of two novels: MUDBOUND and WHEN SHE WOKE, as well as the digital short "Aftermirth," all published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.

MUDBOUND won the 2006 Bellwether Prize for fiction, founded by Barbara Kingsolver to recognize debut novels of social justice, and an Alex Award from the American Library Association. PASTE Magazine named it one of the Top 10 Debut Novel
More about Hillary Jordan...
When She Woke Aftermirth

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“What we can't speak, we say in silence.” 61 likes
“This was the truth at the core of my existence: this yawning emptiness, scantily clad in rage. It had been there all along.” 31 likes
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