Rediscover: Mudbound

Hillary Jordan's debut novel, Mudbound (2008), takes place on the Mississippi Delta in 1946, where Henry McAllen and his wife Laura work a cotton farm with Henry's father. Laura struggles to raise two young daughters in primitive conditions, deal with her bigoted father-in-law, and manage the sea of mud that isolates their farm whenever it rains. Meanwhile, two World War II veterans, white Jamie McAllen and black Ronsel Jackson, return to the Delta to face battles with post-traumatic stress disorder and racial hatred. Mudbound received critical acclaim and won the 2008 Bellwether Prize for Fiction, among other accolades. Jordon is currently at work on a sequel, Fatherlands, about the illegitimate son of black GI Ronsel Jackson and a German mother. Her second novel, When She Woke (2011), was a dystopian reimagining of The Scarlet Letter, in which criminals have their skin color altered to match their crimes.

On November 17, a movie version of Mudbound was released on Netflix and in select theaters. Dee Rees, whose previous work includes Pariah (2011) and Bessie (2015), adapted and directed the film. Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Clarke, Jason Mitchell and Mary J. Blige star in this period drama that has already achieved remarkably positive reviews. On October 31, Algonquin published a movie tie-in version of Jordan's book ($15.95, 9781616208417). --Tobias Mutter

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