06 March 2012

Mudbound ~ Hillary Jordan


Oh my! Breathtaking!
An engrossing, disturbing, memorable book

It has taken me a while to write this review. I usually post them withing a day or two of finishing, but with this one, I just had to wait, had to process it, had to calm my thoughts, had to savour it.

This is set in Mississippi just after the end of WW2. Social change and civil rights are not on the agenda. Mudbound is the sarcastic name bestowed the farm, but the storyline is mired in the murk of humanity. It is a sharp edged look at life in the 40's, a much harsher view of racism than The Help.

The characters are finely written and each gets to contribute to the story with chapters given from varying points of view. There are sour, mean-spirited bigots, there are damaged war veterans, there are the disenfranchised. If you have to draw a breath over the place of women in those days, then you have your breath taken away by the treatment of Negroes.

The story is shows the inhumanity of people towards each other but while the flavour of the story is one of extreme prejudice and cruelty, it is a touching and compelling read. This book will haunt you.

My only complaint is that I couldn't settle in to a new book after finishing (tried deep-and-meaningful, mindless-scholck) ... as this one seeps into your thoughts and takes hold!

Winner of the Bellwether Prize (This prize was founded by Barbara Kingsolver to reward books of conscience, social responsibility, and literary merit)