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BOOK REVIEW: MUDBOUND
BY HILLARY JORDAN

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In a small community in the Mississippi Delta, during a hot summer shortly after the Second World War, tragedy comes to two families, one white, one black. Each family has welcomed home a returning veteran from overseas, and each man is unable to fit neatly into the patterns of the society he left behind when he went to war.

Jordan tells their story in alternating voices - with the most compelling chapters told by two mothers. Laura McAllan has been yanked from her comfortable life as a Memphis school teacher and does not have an easy time of it keeping house for her husband and father-in-law on the small farm her husband purchased without her knowledge.

Somewhat against her better judgement, Florence Jackson accepts a job as housekeeper for Laura. This gives her a front row seat as an observer of the tensions in the McAllan family, which are exaggerated when Jamie McAllan returns from the war to help his brother. And when her son Rounsel comes home, Florence can see trouble brewing and is powerless to prevent it.

The two returning veterans become friends, in a way, and the small community reacts with revulsion and cruelty. The eventual crisis is probably nothing new to readers who know a little about race relations in the American South, but Jordan tells the entire story from a fresh viewpoint. MUDBOUND is an engrossing read, with true "can't put it down" appeal.

REVIEWED BY WOODSTOCK

DO NOT REPRINT WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE REVIEWER, WOODSTOCK


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