Mudbound – Hillary Jordan

Sometimes (even though you have a TBR pile as tall as yourself) you can hear about a book, or see one reviewed or notice a copy in a shop and you think ‘oh I shouldn’t’ – you quite frankly should. I know this after picking up ‘Mudbound’ by Hillary Jordan when I was in Sainsbury’s. Yes I know, I know, people are saying that supermarkets are ruining the book industry (don’t get me started on e-readers) but sometimes when you see something that your unsure about a bargain of £3.99 seems too good to be true. Oddly the strange title both made me want to read the book more and put me off at the same time if that is possible? Any way the book…

I have absolutely loved this book. Seriously I don’t think this review will ever be able to do enough justice to the book or how much I enjoyed it… well as much as you can enjoy something quite harrowing. The novel is set in the Mississippi Delta in the late 1940’s. It opens with a two sons burying their father, you are given a clue that the person who died didn’t necessarily die of natural causes. Watching the burial is Laura and the story starts with her in the past before the burial in the events leading up to it from when she meets her husband Henry and moves with him (reluctantly) to the cotton fields somewhere she finds daunting and unsettling.

Elsewhere the war has been raging on, once it ends Jamie (Henry’s brother) returns a changed man he has seen things that have shocked and scarred him and he wants to work the farm in order to escape the hustle and bustle of life. Another returned soldier is Ronsel Jackson whose family work the farm for Henry as one of the many black sharecroppers if he thought the war was hard he has no idea what is coming and the secrets he carries could come back to change his life forever.

The book is written from the perspective of all the lead characters. A personal favourite of mine was Ronsel’s wonderful mother Florence a strong and determined woman who you routed for and admired throughout the whole novel. Henry’s father Pappy is possibly one of the vilest characters I have read in a very long time just utterly despicable. Every single character was believable and even if you don’t agree with their behaviour or their beliefs you will become completely engrossed in each characters stories and motives. Each characters voice was completely whole and true and meant you saw all sides of the story even if one particular scene made me almost sick to the stomach and I didn’t see coming a mile off.

Not only did I find it astounding that someone could write such a fantastic first novel, I couldn’t believe that in just over 300 pages someone could take you on such a grand scale journey, a journey that covers affairs, religion, racism and war. Hillary Jordan uses a prose that simply draws you in and takes you along and has mastered an art some authors take years to grasp. She is definitely one to watch and I am 100% shocked that this book hasn’t been up for every award going. I can whole heartedly say this must be one of my top five books of the year.

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15 Comments

Filed under Books of 2008, Hillary Jordan, Review, Windmill Books

15 responses to “Mudbound – Hillary Jordan

  1. gautami tripathy

    I just couldn’t put it down once I sarted reading it.

    Linking your review with mine:

    Mudbound

  2. Pingback: Review: Mudbound « the little reader

  3. I thought you weren’t buying books? Does the fact that you bought it with your groceries exempt you from the ban?!

  4. Huh. Did it come back through the blogosphere to remind you of how wonderful it was? That is very strange. Anyway, I did enjoy the review, even though I thought you had broken your buying ban (frankly, I think if you buy it in a supermarket, it doesn’t count!) Plus it did seem familiar, but I never remember where I read the reviews!

    • This is really really weird. Today’s post is all about european fiction… grrr! How random, I love this book though so I hope lost of other people get it and enjoy it!

  5. Whether this post is two years old or not, I’m glad it came up (having just discovered your blog in the last few months)!

    I have “Mudbound” in my TBR pile, and your comments on this book has prompted me to bring it closer to the top.

    • Thanks for your comments Valerie, its always nice to hear new voices and see new faces in the comments. Mudbound is fantastic and I have recommended it to lots of people in the last two years and as far as I know no one hasnt enjoyed it.

  6. i just finished and reviewed this book earlier this month and loved it!

  7. This was one of my favourite reads of that year too; I’m glad that it won the Bellwether Prize, but I don’t understand how it was overlooked by so many other juries at the time. I’m very keen to see what she publishes next.

    • It is a book that has been over looked you are quite right. I am going to intatntly have to read whatever Hillary Jordan writes next as I thought this was marvellous.

  8. Pingback: The Help – Kathryn Stockett « Savidge Reads

  9. Pingback: Books of 2012… Should I Be Reading Them Now? |

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