Well, no stitching or quilting to show today - yup, you guessed it - I've had my nose in another good book! This one was another one of those "Just CAN'T put it down" types! I picked up Mudbound by Hillary Jordan from the library on Friday afternoon and started it Friday evening. I was busy all day Saturday, and finished it Saturday night - or more accurately Sunday morning about 2 a.m.! (Don't you love snuggling in bed with a great book?)
Do you use your local Library "Place on Hold" feature? It is GREAT- I am using it more and more. You can search online to see if the Library has the book, place it on hold and then see how many people are ahead of you "in line". Yesterday I found about 6 that are on my "must read" list, went through them all to see which one I could get the fastest- i.e. it's either available now or only one person ahead of me... what a great system. Then you just walk in and pick it up from the "On Hold" shelf. Don't even have to walk up the stairs to the second level to find the book yourself. And even better- since our Library system is province-wide, if our local library doesn't have a certain book, it will be shipped (at no charge to you the borrower) from another library nearby that DOES have it. I love to read, as you know, and buying every book is a pricey proposition these days, so most of my books come from my local Library. I encourage you to make good use of your local library. I still like to hold a book in my hand - I do not yet own an e-reader, nor am I convinced I want one... Maybe someday... I won't say "never".. but not yet...
It's 1946 in the Jim Crow south, as this story of love, honour and betrayal unfolds. "It's 1946 when Henry McAllan moves his city-bred wife, Laura, from a comfortable home in Memphis to a remote cotton farm in the Mississippi Delta, a place she finds both foreign and frightening. For Henry, it is a chance to live out his dreams of rural life, but for Laura, the farm means isolation and an endless struggle to raise their two young children in a rundown 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 in a sea of mud the family and the sharecroppers who work for them.
Into this difficult life come two celebrated WWII soldiers who return home to the farm. Jamie McAllan is everything his older brother is not: charming, handsome and sensitive to Laura's plight, but also haunted by his memories of combat. Ronsel Jackson, eldest son of the black sharecroppers, returns from fighting the Nazis with the shine of a war hero, only to face far more personal- and dangerous- battles against the ingrained bigotry of his own countrymen. The unlikely friendship of these brothers-in-arms and the passions that they arouse in others drive this powerful novel." ~ from book jacket.
The story opens with brothers Henry and Jamie hurrying to bury their father on the farm before another big rainstorm. From that opening scene we gradually learn how they came to be burying their father. Each main character helps to tell the story- Henry, Laura, Jamie, and Hap, Florence and Ronsel, the black tenant farmers. Jordan's writing captures the reader - you feel a part of it all as the historical facts of the Jim Crow south weave their way into this stunning story.
Jordan won the 2006 Bellworthy Prize for Fiction, awarded to literature of social change. The founder of this award is Barbara Kingsolver (author of The Poisonwood Bible). Kingsolver's praise for Mudbound (from back cover): "This is storytelling at the height of its powers: the ache of wrongs not yet made right, the fierce attendance of history made real as rain, as true as this minute. Hillary Jordan writes with the force of a Delta storm. Her characters walked straight out of 1940's Mississippi and into the part of my brain where sympathy and anger and love reside, leaving my heart racing. They are with me still." I could not have said it any better. You MUST read this book. Don't start it until you have the time to read the whole thing in one or two sittings, because you will not want to put it down. 6 stars out of 5. Definitely on this years' top 10 Favs for me... Definitely got Book Hangover from this one! I cannot wait for her next book...
"A good book should leave you slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading it."