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Mudbound by Hillary Jordan
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Feb 05, 2009

Winner of Barbara Kingsolver's Bellwether Prize (2006), which recognizes an unpublished manuscript promoting social responsibility, Jordan's debut novel exposes the racism and sexism of the Jim Crow South. Most critics embraced this topic, even while recognizing its heavy-handedness; the Washington Post noted that "the book doesn't challenge our prejudices so much as give us the easy satisfaction of feeling superior to these evil Southerners." Reviewers disagreed somewhat on the complexity of character development, with a few complaining of unclear motives. They agreed, however, on the power of Jordan's plain, earthy writing (reminiscent of Flannery O'Connor's prose, to some) and the compelling plot. If it's too early to say that "after just one book

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