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Mudbound When Henry McAllan moves his city bred wife, Laura, to a cotton farm in the Mississippi Delta in , 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 mudAs 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 dangerous battles against the ingrained bigotry of his own countrymen These two unlikely friends become players in a tragedy on the grandest scale It is wonderful that an author can write something like this as their debut novel I enjoyed it so much I liked the way the author presented each chapter from the point of view of a different character This way we got to discover what each individual was really like rather than seeing them only from another persons view It was very noticeable that one character was never given this opportunity to speak and it was a good thing The book opens in a very captivating way with a scene which is repea It is wonderful that an author can write something like this as their debut novel I enjoyed it so much I liked the way the author presented each chapter from the point of view of a different character This way we got to discover what each individual was really like rather than seeing them only from another persons view It was very noticeable that one character was never given this opportunity to speak and it was a good thing The book opens in a very captivating way with a scene which is repeated towards the end I had to go back and read it again to reinterpret it with the knowledge I had gained from reading the book It was very cleverly done I was also grateful for the author s input at the end which lets us know what probably happened to the characters later in life I often dislike books which leave me to draw my own conclusions and I was very satisfied to see what was going to happen to Ronsel He deserved a good life A very good book, well written and enjoyable despite its uncomfortable subject matter I wrote this book so I can hardly be expected to be objective This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here A family tale set in the 1930s and 40s, Mudbound looks at the racial experience, divide, and struggle in the Deep South, from diverse points of view Hillary Jordan image from NPR Two families, one black, one white, tied to the land, to each other, and stuck in the muck of a racist world Jordan uses multiple narrators to offer varying perspectives on the events of the story Laura, a Memphis schoolteacher, is on the fast track to old maid hood after her 30th birthday, when she is introduced A family tale set in the 1930s and 40s, Mudbound looks at the racial experience, divide, and struggle in the Deep South, from diverse points of view Hillary Jordan image from NPR Two families, one black, one white, tied to the land, to each other, and stuck in the muck of a racist world Jordan uses multiple narrators to offer varying perspectives on the events of the story Laura, a Memphis schoolteacher, is on the fast track to old maid hood after her 30th birthday, when she is introduced to Henry McAllan He is smitten, and she likes him well enough Marriage is fine with her, but when a death in the family throws long term plans onto the scrapheap, Henry announces that in two weeks they will be moving to a remote part of Mississippi to take over a farm It comes to be called Mudbound, for obvious reasons The novel merges struggles with racism with views of the hardships of farming life Rob Morgan as Hap Jackson and Jason Mitchell as Ronsel Jackson image from RottenTomatoes.comTwo soldiers, one black, one white, return to town from World War II in Europe Henry s brother Jamie is a much 19 years younger man, charming, a pilot, damaged by his war experience, turning to alcohol to try to smother his recent visions of war and his still sharp recollection of a near death experience he d had as a child and of dubious character in any case Is there really any there there He becomes friends with Ronsel Jackson, the black son of one of Henry s tenants, a successful, handsome member of a black tank corps He had been a hero in Germany, was accepted there and in other parts of Europe as a man, a liberator, not as a black, but back home, the deep south remains the deep south and bigotry defines the limits of civilization, that form of madness personified by Henry and Jamie s vile father, Pappy.Jonathan Banks as Pappy McAllan image from Stimme.deThis was a very fast read, a page turner Jordan does a nice job of slowly ramping up the tension until the climactic action Carey Mulligan as Laura McAllan image from collider.comShe has given us a portrait of a particular place in a particular time I do not believe it to have been her purpose to tell a tale of the modern age the book was published in 2006 , yet it is impossible not to think of the blue on black violence that has tormented the nation and relate it to the overt racial violence of the mid 20th century South.Mary J Blige as Florence Jackson image from RottenTomatoes.comAlthough one might see Laura as the core of this story, and that is where the story began for Jordan, I believe it is Jamie around whom everything else moves His relationship with Laura, the up and the down, help her define her relationship with Henry and with the world His relationship with Ronsel is crucial to the dramatic events that follow It is in the light of his personality that others see themselvesclearly Laura was the first, and only, voice for some while Mudbound started as a short writing exercise in grad school The assignment was to write 3 pages in the voice of a family member, so I decided to write about my grandparents farm a sort of mythic place I d grown up hearing about, which actually was called Mudbound from my grandmother s point of view My teacher liked what I wrote and encouraged me to continue, and I tried to write a short story Nana became Laura, a fictional character who is muchfiery and rebellious than my grandmother ever was, and the story got longer and longer At 50 pages I realized I was writing a novel, and that s when I decided to introduce the other voices Jamie came next, then Henry, then Florence, then Hap Ronsel wasn t even a character until I had about 150 pages And of course, when he entered the story, he changed its course dramatically from Loaded Questions interviewThere is much here about being heard, who can speak, and who, ultimately, is silenced Garrett Hedlund as Jamie McAllanI have seen criticism about the use of stock characters here, and that is not without merit Southern bigots are given only one coat of paint, as are strong black characters Nonetheless, and in particular considering that this is a first novel, it is forgivable Mudbound is a fine read, offering interesting characters, and a poignant view of race relations in the South, particularly after World War II It is well worth the ride It appears that the film that has been made of the novel has not only done it justice but maybe even exceeded the original material Published 2006 Review Posted originally in 2008 reworked on release of the film in November 2017 EXTRA STUFFLinks to the author s personal and Twitter pagesThe Netflix site for the Mudbound filmInterviews NPR March 14, 2008 Racism and Family Secrets in Mudbound by Lynn Neary Jordan says Mudbound was inspired by her mother s family stories of the year they spent on an isolated farm without running water or electricity Eventually, it grew into a larger story with darker themes But the first character she wrote about, Laura, was based on her own grandmother I started out writing what I thought was going to be a short story in the voice of Laura, Jordan says, and as the story grew, I just found myself wanting to hear from other people As the story got larger, as it embraced these other themes, these larger themes about war and about Jim Crow, I wanted to hear from those people Loaded Questions July 19, 2008 Interview with Hillary Jordan by Kelly Hewitt Talks With Teachers Skyping with Hillary Jordan of Mudbound by Brian Sztabnik She had grammar rules for each character For example, Laura is the only character to use a semicolon because she is the most educated Henry s sentences always end with a period because everything is a full stop for him Hap has long, run on sentences because he is a preacher Mudbound took six years and 11 drafts to complete, but she was not writing full time for those six years This novel is so moving, so relatable, and so tragic that I can t imagine any reader being left untouched by its six narrators and the fierce, loving, and horrific story they share in the telling.I found this story so gripping that I could barely stand to put it down so filled with potential tragedy and disaster that I reluctantly picked it up again Yet, I was compelled to do so There is no way in the world that I could close my eyes and heart to this story without suffering in my ignorance This novel is so moving, so relatable, and so tragic that I can t imagine any reader being left untouched by its six narrators and the fierce, loving, and horrific story they share in the telling.I found this story so gripping that I could barely stand to put it down so filled with potential tragedy and disaster that I reluctantly picked it up again Yet, I was compelled to do so There is no way in the world that I could close my eyes and heart to this story without suffering in my ignorance I had to know, I had to be there with these people, I had to find out how their stories would end.Hillary Jordan spent seven years writing this book and I can only imagine the emotional turmoil she experienced while writing these people s perspectives During the time written about in Mississippi, World War II was also related with fresh voices Narrated by Ronsel, we learn of the 10 s of thousands of black men who fought in the war for the U.S., who achieved military honours and status designations that are rarely heard about.We learn of how they are treated as heroes and as equals by the people they met in Europe, and how they returned home not heroes but with demands that they lower their eyes, leave a store by the back door, sit in the back of a truck or a car or a bus say, Yassuh when addressed by a white person.From Henry, Laura, Florence and Hap we learn about the farming methods back then and how challenging it was for anyone to make a decent living in an area subject to extremes in weather and rivers flooding We learn not just about people s needs, such as food, shelter, health, and for love, but also their wants and how basic wants can sometimes create havoc in obtaining basic needs.From Jamie we learn about the dangers of taking on the status quo when even doing the right thing and things one wants to do for themselves can have unbelievably shocking consequences for oneself, but evenso for others.There is so much to learn about in this book some that is familiar, and some set in a frame that is far less known and far less discussed.This novel and the people who drive the story forward will remain in my heart and memory for a long time to come I strongly recommend this book to anyone who has not yet read it The only requirement is an open mind and an open heart this story and the people in it will do all the rest

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