Mudbound

The Jim Crow realities of a forties Mississippi cotton farm form a somber background for Mudbound, the long-awaited debut by Texas native Hillary Jordan . It’s a bitter tale of two World War II heroes, a bomber pilot and a tank commander, who return from the war to quite different circumstances: Jamie McAllan’s Klan-friendly family owns the farm, while Ronsel Jackson’s parents, one generation removed from slavery, sharecrop it. Bound by their common battle experience, the soldiers become friends and cross the intractable color line. There’s a sense here that Jordan is working fields that have been previously plowed, but it’s hard to begrudge a young author the chance to tackle big themes. Jordan worked through eleven drafts of Mudbound, earning the Bellwether Prize for best unpublished novel along the way. The result is a meticulous, moving narrative. Algonquin, $21.95

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