Rainer Maria Rilke

"Live a while in these books, learn from them what seems to you worth learning, but above all love them. This love will be repaid you a thousand and a thousand times, and however your life may turn,-it will, I am certain of it, run through the fabric of your growth as one of the most important threads among all the threads of your experiences, disappointments, and joys."--Rainer Maia Rilke

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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A Beautiful Gem of a Book: Mudbound by Hillary Jordan

Mudbound by Hillary Jordan

Historical Fiction/Realistic Fiction

It isn't often that I give a book the full "5 star" review, because I can't often find books that deserve it.  For me, a "5 star" book is one that changes me in some way, a book that causes me to think of the world and myself differently, a book that grabs me and won't let me go until I've read the last page.  This is one of those rare books.

Mudbound is the story of a family of characters in the 1940's.  Each chapter is told from the point of view of one of the characters, and while the book starts off as the story of one character, it clearly and quickly becomes the story of a family and community coming to grips with a war at home and a war in their own community.  Laura is an aging spinster who feels her biological alarm ringing in full mode.  When she marries Henry, she is disturbed to discover her new wifely duties involve moving to a farm in the backwoods of Mississippi.  Soon, children follow and her in-laws invade.  Woven throughout is also the story of her neighbors, black sharecroppers who labor under the persecution of racism. 

The book was so beautifully written, each character so fully developed.  It seemed more as if I were watching their story unfold rather than reading a fiction account of one woman's imagination.  I can still hardly believe these people aren't, weren't, real.  It was a tragic story, as all good stories of the South are, and the ending will leave you both hopeless and hopeful.  A beautiful gem of a book!

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