Monday, 1 July 2013
Mudbound by Hillary Jordan
Synopsis from Goodreads
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.
4.5 stars from me for this cross between the hardships reminiscent of the farmers in Little House on the Prairie and the bigotry that the Negroes faced in the Deep South.
I enjoyed this story of the relationships and hardships of the McAllan family on their cotton farm in the Mississippi Delta. Laura's life is turned upside down when she moves to the shack on the cotton farm that her husband Henry had recently bought. Not only does she have to cope with life on the farm that is completely different to what she was used to, but she also has her Father in Law to contend with as he lives with them too. Life with a young family isn't easy without what Laura has to cope with.
Henry is a hard working man but there doesn't appear to be a lot of passion between him and Laura. His father Pappy is one of the most despicable characters that I've met yet. He's full of bigotry and tries to rule the roost but yet he isn't one of the narrators of which there are several.
We start the story as Henry and his brother are digging a grave. We then go back in time and the story then begins. As the story builds we are introduced to two war veterans Jamie McAllan, Laura's brother in law and Ronsel Jackson a Negro, whose parents share crop on the farm.
These two war veterans become very central to the story. As the story builds towards it's climax you'll be holding your breath as I know I did.
This story is character driven and is told with multiple voices. The only character that isn't human that is ever present in the story is the mud.
I can thoroughly recommend this story.